Wednesday, May 6, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM EDT
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Terri Downing
Antioch University New England


Diversity in Higher Education: Creating Equity in Evaluation of Faculty 

Despite efforts to improve hiring practices to diversify the faculties of colleges and universities in the US, a lack of strong attention to retention practices may negate progress. At predominantly white institutions and in fields where faculty members are still mostly white and/or male, including Environmental Studies and Sciences, barriers to retention and promotion most strongly impact faculty whose identities do not match the ‘norm’ of a professor expected by students. Barriers include bias in teaching evaluations by students, the burden of hidden labor done to support diversity efforts on campus, and discrimination against research areas of high interest to faculty who are members of historically under-represented groups. In the webinar, she will present an overview of areas of bias in faculty evaluations that impact retention and promotion. She will summarize key findings drawn from the substantial peer-reviewed literature on biases in student evaluations of teaching.  During the webinar, she will discuss strategies to cope with and overcome barriers, with a goal of envisioning how to change structures in higher education to become more equitable.  


Valerie Banschbach is the President-Elect of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, and an Associate Provost and the Dean of Sciences and Education at Gustavus Adolphus College, a private liberal arts college in St. Peter, Minnesota.  As part of fostering excellence, she works to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education serving on the President’s Council for DEI, the faculty DEI committee and the Bias Response Team at Gustavus.  She is dedicated to advance her College’s equitable and inclusive faculty hiring and recruitment practices. In 2019, she earned an Outstanding Faculty Award for the state of Virginia from the State Council for Higher Education. Valerie was Professor and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Roanoke College from 2014-2019. Prior to joining Roanoke College, she was Professor of Biology, Director of the Environmental Studies Program, and Chair of the Biology Department at Saint Michael's College in Vermont.