Understanding Student Evaluations: A Black Faculty Perspective

  • Armon R. Perry University of Louisville
  • Sherri L. Wallace University of Louisville
  • Sharon E. Moore University of Louisville
  • Gwendolyn D. Perry-Burney California University of Pennsylvania
Keywords: student evaluations, black faculty, teaching performance, race, bias, educational atmosphere, college.


Student evaluations of faculty teaching are critical components to the evaluation of faculty performance.  These evaluations are used to determine teaching effectiveness and they influence tenure and promotion decisions.  Although they are designed as objective assessments of teaching performance, extraneous factors, including the instructors’ race, can affect the composition and educational atmosphere at colleges and universities.  In this reflection, we briefly review some literature on the use and utility of student evaluations and present narratives from social work faculty in which students’ evaluation contained perceived racial bias.

Author Biographies

Armon R. Perry, University of Louisville

Kent School of Social Work

Assistant Professor

Sherri L. Wallace, University of Louisville

Department of Political Science

Associate Professor

Sharon E. Moore, University of Louisville

Kent School of Social Work


Gwendolyn D. Perry-Burney, California University of Pennsylvania

Department of Social Work