He's sarcastic and she's nice: students' stereotypes of the typical male and female professor

Document Type


Publication Date



Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Higher Education and Teaching


Gender stereotypes are prescriptive. For example, if people have a stereotype that women are warm and caring, then they also tend to have a societal prescription that women should be warm and caring. When an individual fails to fulfill a gender prescription, he or she may face social punishment. For example, if a woman is cold and uncaring, then she might be judged more harshly than a man who is cold and uncaring because the woman is violating the gender prescription but the man is not. Research on gender stereotypes suggests that students' perceptions of the best and worst college professors are influenced by the gender of the professor. Do students also rely on gender stereotypes when they think of the typical male and female professor?

In this Thursday Forum, I present the results of my research on students' perceptions of the typical male and female professor. After discussing the results of my study, I explore the potential impact of students' unconscious reliance on gender stereotypes on their behavior toward their male and female professors, their interpretation of male and female professors' behavior, and their student opinion survey responses.


The slides for this presentation are not available.

A poster on this research, presented by Dr. Bacon at the 2015 Society for Personality and Social Psychology's annual meeting, is available at http://digitalcommons.csbsju.edu/psychology_pubs/92.