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Katherine Milkman's Mentoring Bias Study Gets Wide Media Pickup

  • Tuesday, 29 April 2014

LDI Senior Fellow Katherine Milkman's study of faculty bias in responding to student requests for mentoring has experienced a wave of pickup in national media outlets in the U.S. and Canada.

Milkman led an investigation that emailed more than 6,500 professors in 250 schools requests for mentoring meetings. In each case messages pretended to be from male and female students with names that suggested they were Caucasian or of
Katherine Milkman
Katherine Milkman, PhD
African American or Asian ethnicity. The findings showed patterns of bias.

Milkman, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Operations and Information Management at Penn's Wharton School and an affiliated faculty member at the LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE).

'Tremendous bias'
Speaking on the NPR show, Milkman said "We see tremendous bias against Asian students and that's not something we expected. So a lot of people think of Asians as a model minority group. We expect them to be treated quite well in academia, and at least in the study and in this context we see more discrimination against Indian and Chinese students than against other groups."

"The very worst in terms of bias is business academia," Milkman said. "So in business academia, we see a 25 percentage point gap in the response rate to Caucasian males vs. women and minorities."

Some of the directly accessible stories that have featured the study with banner headlines include:

NPR Morning Edition: Evidence of Racial, Gender Biases Found in Faculty Mentoring

Scientific American: Sex and Race Discrimination in Academia Starts Even Before Grad School

Washington Post: Deep-Seated Bias, Not Lack of Confidence, Knocks Women Off The Path to Success

Slate.com: Tips for Finding a Great Mentor: Be White and Be Male

Inside Higher Ed: The Bias for White Men

Nature.com News Blog: Discrimination Starts Even Before Grad School, Study Finds

The Wire: Professors are Less Likely to Mentor Female and Minority Students, Especially in Business School

Boston College Heights Newspaper: White Privilege in Education

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