Bias in Teaching Evaluations


Articles, Books, and Blogs about Teaching Bias in Student Reviews:

Byrd, W. Carson. “From Potential Bias to Action.” How to Avoid Bias in Faculty Evaluations, May 2018.

Flaherty, Colleen. “Same Course, Different Ratings.” Study Says Students Rate Men More Highly than Women Even When They’re Teaching Identical Courses, Mar. 2018.

Lawrence, John W. “Student Evaluations of Teaching Are Not Valid.” Student Evaluations of Teaching Are Not Valid | AAUP, May 2018.

Mitchell, Kristina. Student Evaluations Can’t Be Used to Assess Professors. They’re Discriminatory. Mar. 2018.

Mitchell, Kristina. Student Evaluations Can’t Be Used to Assess Professors. They’re Discriminatory. Mar. 2018.

Ray, Victor. “Is Gender Bias an Intended Feature of Teaching Evaluations?” Teaching Evaluations Are Often Used to Confirm the Worst Stereotypes about Women Faculty, Feb. 2018.

Flaherty, Colleen. “The Skinny on Teaching Evals and Bias” Feb. 2021


Ford,  Kristie. A. 2013.   Race, Gender and Bodily (Mis)Recognitions  “Faculty identities and the Challenge of Diversity: Reflections on Teaching in Higher Education” edited by Mark A. Chesler and Alford A. Young Jr

Lazos, Sylvia R. 2012. “Are Student Teaching Evaluations Holding Back Women and Minorities?: The Perils of ‘Doing’ Gender and Race in the Classroom.” In Gutiérrez y Muhs, Gabriella, Yolanda F. Niemann, Carmen G. González and Angela P. Harris, eds. 2012.

Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. Logan: Utah State University Press. 164-185.

Uttl, Bob  Carmela A. White and Daniela Wong Gonzal. 2017. “Meta-analysis of faculty’s teaching effectiveness: student evaluation of teaching ratings and student learning are not related.”   Studies in Educational Evaluation.  Vol 54, 22-42.

Faculty Under Attack

Introduction: In 2016, SWS members gathered together to discuss the increasing frequency of public, online, targeted harassment of faculty, especially people of color and white women. SWS’s Committee on Discrimination and Academic Justice and the Social Action Committee have contributed to this work. We have continued meeting with the goal of creating this website, which presents SWS’s position, resources, and recommendations.  For members of SWS, the Committee on Discrimination and Academic Justice can write letters of support for individuals under attack, and can potentially contribute to legal fees. The Social Action Committee may occasionally have resources available to support research or action projects related to this topic. Contact these committees directly for more information.

Items to add? Contact or

New Publications
Enjoy free access to this article through December 2018:
Ferber, Abby L. “Are you Willing to Die for this Work?” Public Targeted Online Harassment in Higher Education,” Gender and Society. May 2018.


Ferber, Abby L. “New Methods and Consequences of Right-wing Attacks on Professors”, Gender and Society. June 2018.
Copyright by Sociologists for Women in Society and Abby Ferber.

SWS members voted to support the following two position statements:

  1. Position Statements:
  2. AAUP: The AAUP has been collecting and following stories of this new form of harassment, and has provided a place on their website where individuals can provide information about the attacks they have experienced. Their goal is to protect academic freedom, and in cases where faculty are suspended or fired, provide direct support. Their website provides some individuals’ experiences, articles, examples of letters they have written to administrators, and a variety of resources for individuals and institutions. They encourage faculty who are under attack to call their office for advice.
  3. Recommendations for Individuals
  4. Recommendations for Institutions of Higher Education
  5. One campus’ proactive approach: “Faculty Support & Safety Guidance” Model developed by the University of Iowa
  6. Bibliography of Resources:

The Problem:

AAUP, “News Alert: Campus carry violates academic freedom”, 2017.

AAUP, “Targeted online harassment of faculty”, 2017.

AAUP, “Academic Freedom and Electronic Communications”, 2013.

Anti-Defamation League. “White supremacist propaganda surges on campus”, 2018.

Barlow, Aaron. “The annexation of academia.” Academe 102(5) (2016): 2.

Cottom, Tressie McMillan. “Everything but the Burden: Publics, Public Scholarship, and Institutions”, 2015.

Cottom, Tressie McMillan. “Academic outrage: When the culture wars go digital”, 2017.

Cuevas, Joshua A. “AAUP Article: A New Reality? The Far Right’s Use Cyberharassment against Academics”, Feb 2018.

Daniels, Jessie. Cyber racism: White supremacy online and the new attack on civil rights. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009.

Ferber, Abby L. “White Supremacists go to college: New tactics, same old white supremacy”. Mobilizing Ideas, 2017.

Ferber, Abby L. “Faculty Under Attack.” Humboldt Journal of Social Relations, Vol. 39, Special Issue 39: Diversity & Social Justice in Higher Education, 2017.

Ferber, Abby L. “Are you Willing to Die for this Work?” Public Targeted Online Harassment in Higher Education,” Gender and Society., June 2018.

Ferber, Abby L. “The Culture of Privilege: Color-blindness, Post-feminism and Christonormativity.” Journal of Social Issues Volume 68, No. 1 (2012): 63-77.

Figueroa, Meleiza and Palumbo-Liu, David. “Why Berkeley’s Battle Against White Supremacy Is Not About Free Speech: The alt-right’s First Amendment narratives just give cover to campaigns of intimidation.” 2017.

Flaherty, Colleen.  “Old criticisms, new threats: Professors are often lightning rods, but many see a new menace to academic freedom in recent physical threats against faculty members who speak out on race and other issues”., 2017.

Flaherty, Colleen.  “Belly of the beast: Sociologists call for a systematic response to online targeting of and threats against public scholars”, 2017.

Frazier, Kimberly N. “Academic bullying: A barrier to tenure and promotion for African-American faculty”. Florida Journal of Educational Administration & Policy 5(1) (2011): 1-13.

Grande, Sandy. “Academic Blackballing,” 2017.

Grundy, Saida. “A History of White Violence tells us attacks on black academics are not ending (I know because it happened to me)”.  Ethnic and Racial Studies 40.11 (2017).

Hankes, Keegan and Amend, Alex. “The alt-right is killing people”, 2018.

Hanson, Hilary. “Trolls are posting fake stories about being attacked at Black Panther showings”, 2018.

Howey, Brian “Right-wing groups are recruiting students to target teachers,” 2018.

Hughey, Matthew W. “The bullying and terrorism of the white crisis,” 2017.

Intelligence Project. “Alt-right: The White nationalist’s alternative to American conservatism”. Montgomery, AL: Southern Poverty Law Center (2016).

Jenkins, Carrie, “So you want to be a public philosopher?”

Kamola, Isaac. “Crashing the academic conversation,” 2017.

Kerr, Emma. “For scholars of women’s studies, it’s been a dangerous year,” 2018.

Leary, Mary.  “Professor watchlist: Who is being targeted,” 2016.

Quintana, C.  “A professor reflects on her time in the eye of a social-media storm”, 2017.

Quintana Chris, “The Chronicle of Higher Education: ‘If There’s an Organized Outrage Machine, We Need an Organized Response”, 2017.

Quintana, Chris and Read, Brock.  “Signal boost: How conservative media outlets turn faculty viewpoints into national news”, 2017.

Rees, Jonathan, “The Wrong Kind of Famous”, 2017.

Schmidt, Peter. “Higher education’s internet outrage machine,” 2015.

Schmidt, Peter. “Professor’s growing risk: Harassment for things they never really said,” 2017.

Scott, Joan W. “On free speech and academic freedom,” 2017.

Stein, Joel. “How trolls are ruining the internet,” 2016.

Tiede, Hans Joerg. “Exhuming McCarthy (meet me at the book burning),” 2017.

Vogel. Pam, “The conservative dark-money groups infiltrating campus politics”.  Media Matters for America, 2017.

Wingfield, Adia Harvey “Canaries in the Coal Mine? Saida Grundy, Zandria Robison, and Why Calls for their Firing are a Problem for Everyone,” 2015.

What Can We Do?

AAUP, “Taking a Stand Against Harassment, Part of the Broader Threat to Higher Education”, 2017.

AAUP, “What you can do about targeted online harassment.”

Atkin, Emily. 2019. “A Database Showed Far-Right Terror on the Rise. Then Trump Defunded It.” The New Republic. Retrieved January 6, 2019

The Campus Antifascist Network

Cloud, Dana. “Responding to right-wing attacks”, 2017.

Daniels, Jessie and Stein, Arlene. “Protect Scholars Against Attacks From the Right”, 2017.

Equality Labs. “Anti-Doxing Guide For Activists Facing Attacks from the Alt-Right”, 2017.

Friedman, Jaclyn, Sarkeesian, Anita, and Sherman, Renee Bracey, “Speak up and stay Safe(r): A guide to protecting yourself from online harassment”

Grollman, Eric Anthony. “Scholars under attack: How to offer Support.”, 2015.

Grollman, Eric Anthony “Academic freedom won’t protect us,” 2015.

Matthews, Tricia.  “Protecting Academic Freedom: Resources and Reading,” Written/Unwritten (blog), 2017.

McClain, D. “Why 100 black intellectuals rallied behind this professor,” 2015.

McMurtrie, Beth “What Colleges Can Do When the Internet Outrage Machine Comes to Campus,” 2017.

Quintana, C.  “Under Fire, These Professors Were Criticized by Their Colleges”, 2017.

Sanders, Joshunda. “Up to here with trolls?  Tips for navigating online drama,” 2014.

Stein, Arlene and Daniels, Jessie. Going Public: A Guide for Social Scientists. University of Chicago Press, 2017.

The Official Anti-Milo Digital Toolkit

Vilk, Viktorya. 2019. “Online Harassment.” PEN America. 2019

Zamudio-Sauarez, Fernanda. “How a Group of Instructors is Standing up to the Right-Wing Outrage Machine,” 2017.

Zamudio-Sauarez, Fernanda. “This Professor Wants to Teach Administrators Not to Cave In to Right-Wing Outrage,” 2017.

Zuleyka Zevallos. “Sociology of public harassment prevention policies,” 2017.

Resources from other Academic Organizations:

American Studies Association. “Scholars Under Attack: Map”

Nationwide Initiative Launched to Document Assaults on Academic Freedom and Higher Education

MLA. “Tool Kit on Academic Freedom: What is Academic Freedom.”

Scholars At Risk Network. “Protecting Scholars and the freedom to think, question and share ideas.”

Chasm in the Classroom: Campus Free Speech in a Divided America

Sampling of Websites that Initiate the Targeting of Faculty:

Campus Reform:

Campus Watch:

The College Fix:


Professor Watchlist:

Turning Point USA:

Justice in the Academy