On many campuses, the political bias is massive, to the point that a student could easily spend all four years on campus without hearing any “conservative” opinions, much less meeting an actual conservative professor.
Trouble is, despite what our legacy media keeps screaming at us, lots of people have conservative views. This includes devout followers of Christian faiths (they exist, honest, despite the media downplay in the face of the many, many, churches you can see with your own eyes as you drive through any city), as well as people who dared to put an ‘R’ on their political affiliation.
This group includes many of our young adults, our kids heading off to college. How are they to act when they set foot on a campus which considers them little more than knuckle-dragging monsters?
Students’ Religiosity and Perceptions of Professor Bias: Some Empirical Lessons for Sociologists
This is a serious study, so allow me to focus mostly on the abstract:
A political mismatch between professors and a large swath of the student population has been widely documented. This mismatch is salient within sociology, where left-leaning politics are mainstream and institutionalized.
Yeah, no kidding. Much like my first link in today’s post the mismatch is extreme. By “institutionalized” the authors are referring to the fact that this mismatch cannot change: institutions have rigged the game at the hiring level, so conservative faculty simply cannot get into the institutions anymore.
Further, extant research indicates that this political mismatch leads students outside of the left-leaning mainstream to perceive that their professors are politically biased…
“leads…to perceive…politically biased”? Seriously? This is not a perception, it’s heavily documented fact. It’s why anti-communists, pro-heterosexuals, and Christians all receive very biased, hostile, treatment on campus, while the “not conservative” people get basically a free pass on everything. I grant that this particular bias isn’t the focus on the paper, so let’s move on:
In response, this study analyzes survey data from a diverse sample of undergraduate students enrolled in sociology courses…
While sociology isn’t the most hard-core topic on campus, it does have some things to say of relevance. Thus, most student are as obligated to take sociology courses as they are mathematics courses; the sample here is restricted to surveys of students in sociology courses, but that’s not much of a bias. I took two such courses as an undergraduate, even though I was a mathematics major.
And what kind of results did the study yield?
Our results suggest that religiosity affects perceptions of and reactions to professors’ biases through increased skepticism towards science…
Well, one would expect religiosity to affect perception, and it’s good the paper acknowledged the professor bias in sociology but…”increased skepticism towards science”? What? I remind the reader that many “scientific” studies cannot be replicated, fundamentally violating the core concept of the scientific method, and that, moreover, fields like sociology are particularly vulnerable to having wide swaths of their beliefs not being replicable.
It’s…scary that the religious are being targeted for their skepticism here, when seriously any rational person, aware of what’s currently going on, should be skeptical of “the latest scientific findings.”
A few more thing were buried in the study but not in the abstract:
“Student learning is derailed when students perceive a need to censor their beliefs or write on an exam what they think a professor wants to hear. That is not a positive learning experience, or really a learning experience at all,”
Hmm, the students “perceive” a need to censor their beliefs? Surely the researchers know that when conservative speakers come on campus, protesters threatening physical violence to such speakers are quite common? To call this a “perception” is as inadequate as saying humans “perceive a need” to inhale oxygen.
I can’t help but suspect the authors of the study are dancing around an obvious problem here, as they consistently use language to spin things to represent the problem is the students, and not the atmosphere on many campuses.
…suggests that professors could go out of their way to acknowledge politically divergent theories during class, and to create a welcoming environment for diverse viewpoints.
Well, that’s good advice. Too bad the hiring committees make it certain professors holding “politically divergent” theories aren’t allowed on campuses. It’s quite well known that the “convergent” faculty aren’t going to address those other theories beyond sneering condescension—otherwise they wouldn’t be converged, after all.
Still recovering, so another short post.