Research by Assistant Professor of Economics Veronica Sovero examines how faculty gender and contract uncertainty impact students’ grades.
Soverno's research suggests students assigned to female instructors with more contract uncertainty (temporary and tenure-track) receive significantly higher grades than if the instructor was tenured. It also provides suggestive evidence that awarding higher grades on average is associated with higher retention probabilities for female instructors.
“All lecture faculty are going to be very sensitive to their teaching evaluation,” says Sovero. “But it’s going to be even stronger for these female faculty who are on uncertain contracts.” She believes the findings help demonstrate the need for universities to take steps including giving their instructors longer-term contracts and trying to reduce bias in student evaluations of teachers.
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