Same Course, Different Ratings

Inside Higher Ed

A new study in PS: Political Science combines elements of prior research on gender bias in student evaluations of teaching, or SETs, and arrives at a serious conclusion: institutions using these evaluations in tenure, compensation and other personnel decisions may be engaging in gender discrimination. The study says students rate male instructors more highly than women, even when they’re teaching identical courses.

Is My Teaching Learner-Centered?

To gauge what it means to be a learner-centered instructor, consider these questions. (READ MORE)

Characteristics of learner-centered teaching

  • Does the course contain activities that put students in positions to learn from and with each other?
  • Are students encouraged to discover things for themselves, or does the teacher usually tell them what they should know and do?
  • Are there policies and practices in the course that promote the development of autonomous, self-directed learning skills?
  • Is student input solicited on course topics, policies, assessment methods, and class activities?
  • Is collaboration emphasized more than competition in the course?
  • Is what’s being learned, why it’s being learned, and how it can be learned discussed more often than grades?
  • Are students voluntarily participating or do they sit silently until called on to answer questions and make comments? Does their nonverbal behavior indicate they’d rather not speak?
  • Do students talk more than the teacher during class discussions? Do students respond to each other or only to the teacher?
  • Is it a course where questions play a more prominent role than answers?
  • Are students being taught how to answer their own questions?
  • Are mistakes handled as learning opportunities for the teacher and the students?
  • Are skills like critical thinking and problem-solving taught explicitly?
  • Is the teacher modeling how expert learners handle problems, find answers, deal with failure, and celebrate success?
  • Are students being given the opportunity to develop self- and peer-assessment skills?
  • Do students have the chance to practice the principles of constructive feedback (when they provide input about the course and/or about the work of their peers)?
  • Do students regularly comment on evaluations that it was a course where they had to think? Or, was a course where they had to teach themselves (meaning the teacher held them responsible for learning)?

Join Project Bruin Strong!

Project Bruin Strong seeks to normalize challenges, failures, and set-backs during the college experience and to build community amongst students so that they are aware that we have all dealt with failure, rejection or disappointment in a learning environment.

To reinforce these ideas, Bruin Strong would like to share stories of resilience from our faculty and staff. With your help, we can highlight that we have all dealt with obstacles and that we can grow from those experiences.

In order to participate and share your resilience story, please complete this online form:

For more information, please go to

If you have any questions, please contact Pia F. Palomo, Academic Counselor in the College Academic Counseling, and Academic Advisor in Disability Studies at

Investigating the Influence of Gender on Student Perceptions of the Clicker in a Small Undergraduate General Chemistry Course

The use of electronic response pads or “clickers” is a popular way to engage students and create an active-learning environment, especially within large chemistry courses. The authors of this paper examined students’ perceptions of how the clicker affected their learning, participation, and engagement in the classroom, as well as their overall experience within a first-semester general chemistry course at a liberal arts institution. Overall, students perceived that clickers provided a significant enhancement to their learning, with women valuing the technology to a greater extent.


How Kindness and Community Increases Students’ Participation in STEM Career Pathways

The United States’ inability to achieve equitable workforce development in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career pathways is well-recognized and has been attributed to the poor retention of a diverse stream of students in academia. Social science theory and research provide evidence that social contextual variables—specifically kindness cues affirming social inclusion—influence chronic underrepresentation of some groups within STEM career pathways. Review of the literature suggests that the current STEM academic context does not consistently provide cues that affirm social inclusion to all members of the academic population, and that policies that address this disparity are essential to broadening STEM workforce development in the United States.