Stanford hiring admin to teach profs about 'implicit bias'
- The Stanford University School of Medicine is hiring a new staffer whose primary responsibility will be to train professors in “microaggressions” and “implicit bias.”
- Recent research, however, has called into question the empirical basis for such trainings, suggesting that in some cases it might even backfire.
The Stanford University School of Medicine is hiring a new staffer whose primary responsibility will be to train professors in “microaggressions” and “implicit bias.”
According to a recent job posting, Stanford Medicine hopes to hire a Manager of Inclusion and Culture Strategy to manage the school’s diversity and inclusion efforts, create a “cultural change ambassadors program,” and find ways to highlight diversity on campus.
The manager’s primary responsibility, though, will be to develop and execute training for “staff and faculty on unconscious bias, microaggressions, change management for diversity, and other diversity and inclusion leadership topics.”
However, recent research has questioned the empirical basis for microaggression training and unconscious bias theory.
As Campus Reform has reported, Emory University professor Scott Lilienfeld has failed to find evidence that microaggressions cause any harm to minorities, despite the claims advanced by many of the theory’s promoters.
Further, he argues that teaching microaggression theory can backfire, because it could cause minorities to “‘perceive’ slights even when they are not present.”
Lilienfeld concluded his investigation by calling for “a moratorium on microaggression training” after finding “no evidence that microaggressions are correlated with indicators of either prejudice or aggression” or that they can cause any “harm.”
Likewise, while many colleges aim to teach students and professors about unconscious biases in hopes of reducing the risk that someone may act acts in a prejudiced manner, the theory of unconscious bias has also come under sharp criticism.
A 2016 meta-analysis led by University of Arkansas Professor Patrick Forscher, for instance, discovered that there is “little evidence that changes in implicit bias [cause] changes in explicit bias or behavior.”
Desired qualifications for the new position at Stanford include “advanced knowledge of campus-based diversity and inclusion issues,” and “direct experience working on diversity issues on a college or university campus.”
The hiree will work in the school’s Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, which explicitly seeks to “put a particular emphasis on diversity in the recruitment process,” and hosts a variety of networking programs for women and racial minority staff.
Fighting the unconscious bias of professors is one of the key focuses of the department; currently, it offers professors a free online class to fight “Unconscious Bias in Medicine,” as well as trainings on unconscious bias available upon request.
Campus Reform reached out to the Stanford University School of Medicine for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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