Professor Has Sex with Student for Good Course Evaluation

Ah, the pressures of the untenured:

Alan Gilchrist, an associate professor of English literature at the University of Arkansas infamous for his tough grading standards and dry lecturing style, was coerced into sleeping with an undergraduate on Monday in order to earn a good course evaluation. “My tenure’s on the line here, so I allowed a student to take advantage of me,” said an emotional Gilchrist of the experience, which he hopes will earn him at least six “very much enjoyed” responses on the eight-item evaluation form.

via Dan Drezner via Virginia Postrel

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Herb Ely says:

    Is this to be believed? The Onion is a satire magazine.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Herb: Nope, it’s a joke. Although a very good one because the pressures of teaching evaluations are quite real.

  3. Kent G. Budge says:

    I’m surprised. My impression is that teaching ability is completely secondary to ability to attract research money. It’s a truism that the professor who wins the annual Best Teacher award will be denied tenure the next year.

    If I’m wrong, and teaching actually matters, then I’m very happy to be wrong.

    Had the article talked about a professor sleeping with the grants committee, it wouldn’t even have made good satire. It would have rated a yawn.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Kent: Depends largely on the school and department. In most of the social sciences, publications matter more than teaching or grants. In the lab sciences, I suspect grants matter more.

    In most non-PhD granting schools, though, teaching is still a big factor in tenure decisions. Glowing evals don’t much matter but one needs to be at least at, say, the 40th percentile absent extraordinary pubs, grants, or whatever.