BOX 4-8

Specific Steps for Overcoming Bias

  1. Avoid language that activates unexamined and implicit biases (Box 2-4).

  2. Make positive role models visible (see Boxes 2-4 and 4-2).

  3. Include women and minority-group members on evaluation committees (Box 4-2).

  4. Create an enhanced sense of community and partnership (Box 5-2).

  5. Discuss possible bias and challenge decisions openly (Box 4-4).

  6. Make the community aware of the research on bias and emphasize the neutral effect of the gender of the evaluator, thereby defusing the issue and avoiding accusations and defensiveness (Box 4-9).

  7. Define criteria at the outset of the selection process to ensure that they select the best academic traits rather than simply replicating past patterns (Boxes 4-1, 4-6, and 4-7).

  8. Hold accountable people and committees that conduct evaluations of people for hiring, tenure, promotion, and awards (Boxes 4-2, 4-6, and 4-7).


BOX 4-9

Top Research Articles on the Effects of Bias on Evaluationa

Each of the 19 institutions that have received NSF ADVANCE grants were asked which research publications have proven most effective in their institutional transformation projects. The most-cited publications were these:

RE Steinpreis, KS Anders, and D Ritzke (1999). The impact of gender on the review of the curricula vitae of job applicants and tenure candidates: A national empirical study. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research 41:509-528.

F Trix and C Psenka (2003). Exploring the color of glass: Letters of recommendation for female and male medical faculty. Discourse and Society 14(2):191-220.

V Valian (1999). Why So Slow: The Advancement of Women. Cambridge: MIT Press.

C Wennerås and A Wold (1997). Nepotism and sexism in peer-review. Nature 387: 341-343.


aAll 19 ADVANCE institutions were polled on the top 3-5 articles that have proven the most effective in their institutional transformation projects. Poll conducted between January 20 and March 20, 2006.

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