Overview: Bias in the classroom

The recent study that investigated bias in the classroom found a correlation between students’ perception of bias and their resistance to changing their beliefs.

The study, which will appear in the latest issue of College Teaching, surveyed more than 250 college students to assess their resistance to change and their perception of bias from faculty members, according to Inside Higher Ed. The researchers found that those who were less resistant to new ideas were less likely to perceive bias in the classroom.

Groups such as Young Conservatives of Texas, which for years released a “Professor Watch List,” have accused professors of bias and attempting to force certain ideologies onto students. In fact, academia “has acquired such a strong reputation for liberalism and secularism that over the last 35 years few politically or religiously conservative students, but many liberal and secular ones, have formed the aspiration to become professors,” write sociologists Neil Gross and Ethan Fosse in their paper “Why Are Professors Liberal?”

Hopefully, students inclined to level accusations of liberal brainwashing will consider that the purpose of higher education is to expand students’ knowledge, and that includes constantly challenging their beliefs. A staunch resistance to change undermines the very mission higher education intends to accomplish.