An Ohio university stopped a professor who was going to give females better grades by virtue that they were female, according to a Wednesday report.
University of Akron professor Liping Liu had wanted to “test the water” and see if boosting female students’ grades would entice female students to take information science courses and fix gender imbalances in the field, reported The College Fix. However, a school administrator called the initiative “clearly unacceptable” and confirmed that it had not taken effect.
The professor described a “national movement to encourage female students to go [in]to information sciences” in an email sent to students. The professor cited an effort by Microsoft to improve gender diversity, but the company does not encourage awarding grade boosts based on gender, instead wanting classrooms to assure “a safe place for questions and vulnerability” and encouraging teachers to reward effort instead of instant knowledge of an answer.
“Tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft etc. have only about 10-15 percent of females in their engineering teams, and over 50 percent of them will leave the profession over time,” Liu told The Fix. “These companies desperately need to hire more females from our schools to refill the workforce, yet our universities are not getting many girls interested in the programs.”
Only one or two students out of Liu’s classes with average sizes of 20 to 30 students are female and the professor said these female students are “not doing well” and will likely have to repeat his courses or drop out of the information science program without the grade boost. (RELATED: Virginia Tech Awarded $1 Million To Boost Diversity And Inclusion In STEM)
“While the professor’s stated intention of encouraging female students to go into the information sciences field may be laudable, his approach as described in his email was clearly unacceptable,” University of Akron Provost Rex Ramsier told The Fix. “The University has verified that there were no adjustments to grades based upon the gender of individuals in the class.”
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