STUDY: female political science profs more likely than men to get accolades

Kaitlyn Schallhorn
Former Reporter

  • According to a recent study, women political science faculty are more likely than men to be rewarded for their teaching.
  • The study also says this can be detrimental to women who are focused more on teaching than research.
  • Female political science professors are more likely to be honored for teaching than men, according to a new political science study.

    “Based on a recent survey of political science professors in the United States, women tend to win teaching awards at higher rates than their male counterparts,” reads the abstract for the study published in January’s PS: Political Science and Politics.

    The authors of the study claim that women in political science may be hurting themselves by teaching so well.   

    The study, “When Winning Is Really Losing: Teaching Awards and Women Political Science Faculty,” surveyed 600 political science faculty members and asked if they had ever been honored for teaching.

    The study found that while only 34.5 percent of faculty members said they had been honored, more women than men admitted to the honor—39.6 percent to 31.4 percent.

    According to Inside Higher Ed, the authors of the study called the gender gap a “welcome development” as women make up a minority of political science faculty.

    The study found that more women than men claimed to have been honored for their teaching in community colleges, master’s institutions, and doctoral institutions. Only in four-year colleges did more men (47.7 percent) say they had been honored for their teachings than women (40.3 percent).

    However, the authors of the study claim that women in political science may be hurting themselves by teaching so well. According to study, the more women are honored for their teaching, the more it benefits their students, but not necessarily their research.

    “[T]he achievement of teaching excellence may have an overall negative impact on the advancement of female faculty by reducing their time and focus available for research,” they wrote.

    While the two authors suggested that their study shouldn’t discourage females from pursuing teaching so diligently but should encourage women faculty to “think more strategically about advancement within their particular institutional context.”

    The authors also suggest more efforts for mentoring women political science faculty.

    “Additionally, and perhaps more important, department chairpersons and other college and university administrators should be mindful of the gendered dimensions involved in issues of professional advancement,” the pair wrote, according to Inside Higher Ed.

    The study was authored by Charity Butcher, an assistant professor of political science and international affairs, and Timothy Kersey, a visiting assistant professor of political science and international affairs. Both teach at Kennesaw State University in Georgia.

    Neither Butcher nor Kersey responded to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @K_Schallhorn





    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn

    Former Reporter

    Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, Kaitlyn was a reporter at Red Alert Politics and covered business and restaurants for the Alexandria Times.  

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