The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Teaching Evaluations Event at Northwestern Law

Are law schools following the data?


Together with the leadership of the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, I am co-organizing a multidisciplinary Zoom panel on Thursday, January 20 at 12-2pm CST entitled "Validity and Equity Problems in Law School Teaching Evaluations." Everyone interested in attending should register here. The event will also be recorded.

Northwestern's Dean Hari Osofsky and I will be hosting the event, and our speakers are: Renee Allen (St. John's), Jason Brennan (Georgetown), Rebecca Kreitzer (UNC), Katherine Macfarlane (Southern), and Adam Scales (Rutgers). The description of the event is as follows:

Student evaluations are, as shown by study after study, not valid measures of teaching quality and are biased along the axes of gender, race, accent, age, disability, attractiveness, and other instructor attributes unrelated to teaching ability. Yet, even as many universities and colleges have begun reckoning with these established problems with teaching evaluations, and while many law schools have started tackling other barriers facing women and minorities in academia, attempts to reform evaluations have lagged behind in the legal academy. This panel brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to discuss the most recent research on teaching evaluations and how law schools should proceed given what this work shows about the issues with such evaluations.

The event will be of primary interest to faculty and administrators at law schools, but also to folks from other university departments.