BME Lecturer Ratings Show Student Prejudice


Research on the UK’s National Student Survey results shows a correlation between the ethnicity of lecturers and the scores they are given by students. This correlation, the Times Higher Education reports, “researchers at the University of Reading attribute to ‘unconscious bias’ on the part of respondents.”

Ethnic minority lecturers are rated lower than white lecturers in the UK by undergraduates, this “unconscious bias” is more like unconscious racism when factors like gender and age of lecturers did not affect the data. Because National Student Survey data is often used by universities to analyse the effectiveness of lecturers and departments this bias needs to be taken into account when dealing with diversity and hiring BME lecturers.

The head of Reading’s International Capital Market Association Centre, Professor Bell, told Times Higher Education reporter Chris Havergal, “We have to be aware that there is a bias in the NSS, and I don’t think we can do anything about that, but we need to be aware that, if we are building a diverse workforce, our results may go down as a result.”

Recently, Prime Minister David Cameron criticised top universities in the UK for their lack of diversity when admitting students. The UK is not alone in its current education diversity issue, The Times Higher Education also reported on how US students have the same bias towards their lecturers on website where Asian professors are consistently rated lower.

Undergraduate students need to be aware of their unintentional prejudice so that students and universities can work towards equality so that BME lecturers are rated fairly. The need for diversity and equality is now shown to be an issue for both students and employees in the UK’s education system.

Original Story:

Mary Schlichte