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In their lively and entertaining weekly discussion of issues related to higher education, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger explore the topics of higher education, lifelong learning, and exercising the brain. Ed and Jennifer practice what they preach, too, by introducing math puzzlers and brain teasers to keep listeners on their toes.

Higher Ed: Confronting Gender-Based Academic Bias

The author of a summer op-ed in the New York Times (no, not that op-ed!)  believes girls would benefit from more drilling on math to "break the cycle of dislike-avoidance-further dislike" and help them build confidence in their math skills (which research has shown are pretty similar to boys' math skills).  In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton  discuss the op-ed's call for gender-based additional academic practice and how to undo lingering biases about gender and academic performance.

We hope the days are long gone in which girls were considered to be less skilled at math and the sciences, and boys were considered under-achievers in reading and language arts. The data don't bear those differences out, but lingerings biases may still lead some students to be treated as if they are true or to act as if they are true.  In this episode, Ed discusses social science research that shows any effort that amplifies the bias - even by calling it out - can actually reinforce it. He also believes students should always be encouraged to improve their understanding and performance, regardless of their gender or the academic subject.

Listen on for our discussion as well as for the solution to last episode's puzzler about the mysterious stamp switch.

This episode was recorded on Aug. 9, 2018.

For all of the Higher Ed episodes, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.

Jennifer Stayton is the local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" on KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @jenstayton.
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