Muslim students disrupted a world religion class and told classmates to be “scared,” says the adjunct professor, who resigned in protest when Tarrant County College officials sided with two Muslims in the class. A Baptist, Paul Derengowski is biased against Islam — and most other religions.
Women’s choices — not male bias — explain why so few women advance in science careers, concludes a study by Cornell researchers Stephen Ceci and Wendy Williams, which is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The focus on “sex discrimination in reviewing, interviewing, and hiring represents costly, misplaced effort,” they argue. “Society is engaged in the present in solving problems of the past, rather than in addressing meaningful limitations deterring women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers today.”
Looking at two decades of data, the researchers found that women scientists are more likely than men to step off the career track.
This situation is caused mainly by women’s choices, both freely made and constrained by biology and society, such as choices to defer careers to raise children, follow spouses’ career moves, care for elderly parents, limit job searches geographically, and enhance work-home balance.
Family-friendly policies, such as the option to work part-time and delay the tenure clock, could help women advance in science careers, they write.
Ceci and Williams are married to each other and have three daughters, notes Lisa Belkin in the New York Times.
She links to an interview with Dr. Janet Davison Rowley, now 85, “the matriarch of modern cancer genetics.” The mother of four, Dr. Rowley worked part-time until her youngest child was 12.
Conservative students can be happy on a liberal campus, concludes a study presented at the American Sociological Association and reported by Inside Higher Ed. UC-San Diego Sociology Professor Amy J. Binder and Kate Wood, a graduate student, interviewed open and closet conservatives at an elite Eastern private college and a large Western public university. In both cases, conservatives were a small minority on campus.
At the private college, conservatives “viewed the experience of being in the minority as a positive one” in teaching them to examine and defend their beliefs, Wood said. By contrast, many conservatives at the public university said they were the victims of bias by classmates and professors.
The private college conservatives “felt that they had very close relationships with faculty members with whom they disagreed on politics.” Conservatives avoided only a few courses, such as “critical gender studies.”
Much of this related to “very small class size” and to a sense that all students and faculty members were part of a common community, and wanted to disagree with one another respectfully. As a result, Wood said, while the conservative students generally said that they didn’t hold back their views, they didn’t describe going to class looking for a fight — and they talked about wanting to disagree with professors in respectful ways, since they felt treated with respect.
At the Western public university, which had larger classes and less faculty-student interaction, students said they didn’t know their professors well. Conservative students talked about “trying to get in fights” with professors in class, of “trying to catch their professors in the act of liberal indoctrination.”
In a study in India, teachers hired as test graders gave higher scores when the student was identified as high caste, lower scores to low-caste students, reports Inside School Research.
The Harvard study tested elementary and middle-school students in mathematics, language and art.
The tests, however, were randomly assigned different student characteristics. One student, for instance, would be listed on a cover sheet as a member of the Brahmin caste, the highest of India’s four social groups, while another might be described as being in the lowest caste, the Shudra. The tests were also graded separately by a research staff member who had no knowledge of any of the students’ characteristics.
As might be expected, the results showed that teachers, on average, assigned scores to students from low castes that were 3 percent to 9 percent lower than those of students who were described as being from a high-caste group. What was particularly interesting, though, was that teachers from low-caste groups were driving most of that discrimination; no evidence of bias could be found for teachers from high-caste groups. And they tended to direct it most often toward the lowest-performing students in the low-caste group—the students who presumably best fit the stereotype.
Gender didn’t influence grades, except for “the highest-performing girls, who were graded slightly more harshly than their high-performing male counterparts,” writes Debbie Viadero.