Gendered Christian Professor Ratings

Gendered Christian Professor Ratings November 19, 2019

I recently learned that Dr. Ben Schmidt made a website about gendered language in teacher reviews. Here’s the explanation on the website about what it offers:

This interactive chart lets you explore the words used to describe male and female teachers in about 14 million reviews from RateMyProfessor.com.

You can enter any other word (or two-word phrase) into the box below to see how it is split across gender and discipline: the x-axis gives how many times your term is used per million words of text (normalized against gender and field). You can also limit to just negative or positive reviews (based on the numeric ratings on the site). For some more background, see here.

Not all words have gender splits, but a surprising number do. Even things like pronouns are used quite differently by gender.

I thought about what it would be most interesting to type in, and decided that my field (and the pitfalls of teaching in it) would be worth exploring. And so I tried “God” first, and then “Christian.” I found the results from that latter one quite shocking:

I suspect that the above reflects Christians complaining in different ways about professors who are male or female and their treatment of their own Christian religious tradition. The jump for philosophy and other humanities is remarkable. What do you think is behind this? Any experience from reading or filling in course evaluations that might shed light on what is going on in this chart?

See more about this in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s teaching newsletter.

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