Supportive woman, engaging man: Gendered differences in student perceptions of teaching excellence

Kathryna Kwok, Jackie Potter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The roles of gender bias have tended to be overlooked in research into what students perceive as excellence in teaching. This chapter describes an investigation of student-submitted nominations for an excellence award at a mid-sized university in England to explore any gendered patterns in the nominations’ thematic content. It was found that, whereas female students described their excellent male and female teachers in similar ways, male student descriptions of their excellent female teachers tended to emphasise stereotypically feminine competencies relative to their descriptions of excellent male teachers. As feminine competencies tend to be perceived as relatively less important in UK higher education, the association of female teachers with feminine competencies can disadvantage women in formal recognition processes. On an individual level, it is important to recognise that sociocultural biases and expectations can influence evaluations of teaching quality. With regard to educational development, moving towards a model of teaching expertise as opposed to teaching excellence would help shift evaluative foci on to practices that are within an individual’s control.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDeveloping Expertise for Teaching in Higher Education
Subtitle of host publicationPractical Ideas for Professional Learning and Development
EditorsHelen King
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9781000551310
ISBN (Print)9781032056999
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStaff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) Series
PublisherTaylor and Francis

Bibliographical note

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  • gender
  • teaching excellence
  • student evaluations of teaching


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