Thursday, October 23, 2003

Why we need elective calliagnosia

The Higher Education Chronicle notes that good-looking professors get better evaluations. Article ranges from hilarious...

Mr. Lang has always earned high marks from his students at Assumption College, but he doesn't consider himself a "Baldwin" (for the clueless, that's a term for a hot guy, popularized by the movie Clueless). Apparently, though, some of his students do. More than one of them has made comments about his "buns" on student evaluations.

Now the assistant professor of English says he's self-conscious about his looks and his teaching. "I work very hard at my teaching," he says, "and I am a little disturbed at the possibility that students are evaluating my courses based on such a superficial criterion." He wonders if he's as good a teacher as he thought he was, and he's afraid to turn his back to his classes to write on the chalkboard. surprising...

Some male professors also may be dismayed about another finding of the study: "Good looks generated more of a premium, and bad looks more of a penalty, for male instructors," say Mr. Hamermesh and Ms. Parker in a paper about their findings, "Beauty in the Classroom: Professors' Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity." According to their data, the effect of beauty (or lack thereof) on teaching evaluations for men was three times as great as it was for women.

I'll do what the Chronicle does not, and link to the original academic paper: summary at NBER; alternate link.

BTW the title of this post comes from a term used in Ted Chiang's marvelous story "Liking What You See: A Documentary", which appears in his collection Stories of Life, and Others (available in hardcover and paperback).

No comments:

Post a Comment