When students enter college classrooms for the first time they inevitably have preconceived images of professors. According to research on student evaluations of teaching, these preconceptions have important implications in college classrooms. This study explores one avenue through which these preconceptions are perpetuated – popular film. Using content analysis we examine popular films released between 1985 and 2005 that contain professors in either primary or secondary roles. Our findings show stereotypical depictions beyond glasses, bow ties, and tweed jackets. Specifically, we find stereotypical images of race and gender as well as an emphasis on the importance of research, sometimes at the expense of teaching or ethical behavior. This research provides instructors with knowledge of the stereotypes that students may have upon entering the college classroom, which may impact classroom interactions and provides insight into how race and gender affect student evaluations of professors.
This is the author's version of the work. This publication appears in Gettysburg College's institutional repository by permission of the copyright owner for personal use, not for redistribution.
Dagaz, Mari, and Brent Harger (equal authorship). 2011. “Race, Gender, and Research: Implications for Teaching from Depictions of Professors in Popular Film, 1985-2005.” Teaching Sociology 39(3):274-289.