Professorial Pulchritude Update

“It was God who made me so beautiful. If I weren’t, then I’d be a teacher.”

– a quote which is attributed to supermodel Linda Evangelista in the 2003 research paper ‘Beauty in the Classroom: Professors’ Pulchritude and Putative Pedagogical Productivity’ (Economics of Education Review, 24(4): 369-376) A research team at the University of Texas, Austin had found that “Instructors who are viewed as better looking receive higher instructional ratings, with the impact of a move from the 10th to the 90th percentile of beauty being substantial.” (See Annals of Improbable Research / January-February 2004). Now the concept of professorial pulchritude benefit has been extended.

A brand new yet-to-be-published study suggests that not only do better-looking professors get higher ratings by students – but they’re also more productive. And they earn more. Professor Anindya Sen, at the University of Waterloo, along with  Professor Marcel Voia and Professor Frances Woolley from Carleton University have between them authored the paper ; “Do good looking professors earn more? Evidence from economics departments in Ontario.”
The researchers correlated ‘Hot or Not’ chilli-pepper ‘Hottness’ [sic] ratings from (RMP) with professors’ earnings (which are public domain in Ontario since the 1996 Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act) – and confirmed that ‘hot’ profs do indeed earn more. It should be noted though that the ‘hot-or-not’ ratings on RMP are not really statistically rigorous – for, as the authors point out – “…we do not know what students are thinking when they rate professors as hot or not.” In addition, as RMP themselves stated back in 2006 ( before it was taken over by MTVu )

“…it is not possible for us to verify which raters had which teachers, so always take the ratings with a grain of salt. Remember, we have no way of knowing who is doing the rating – students, the teacher, other teachers, parents, dogs, cats, etc.”

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