Faculty Letter in Support of Bias Training at Penn


To the Penn Community,

In 2012, Moss-Racusin and colleagues published a remarkable paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (109: 16474-16479) reporting that male applicants for a university lab manager position were viewed by prospective faculty employers as significantly more competent, “hireable”, and deserving of larger salaries than female applicants with an identical resume.  The disparity was robust, statistically significant, and – strikingly – essentially indistinguishable for male and female faculty employers. 


This and many related studies have demonstrated that unconscious bias related to race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and other personal traits is a reality in academia, as it is in the larger community. Some believe the issue of unconscious bias to be overstated or the rallying cry of a disgruntled few; however, this view is strongly refuted by the data.  Extensive peer-reviewed research has demonstrated that unconscious bias continues to influence our individual and collective development and success, both within academia and beyond.  For example, a recent analysis using the black-white implicit association test (IAT) revealed significant racial bias among faculty serving on a medical school admissions committee.  Importantly, however, two-thirds of those faculty concluded that this training was helpful in reducing unconscious bias, and the subsequent matriculating class was the most diverse in that medical school’s history (Capers et al., Academic Medicine (2017) 92: 365-369). 


From conversations with representatives from multiple student groups, we know that issues of unconscious (and conscious) bias are of great concern to many of our students, as well as fellow faculty and staff.  We believe it is important that the Penn Community knows we are listening, and remain committed to addressing these concerns.  We fully support, and hope to expand, University initiatives designed to examine and reduce the impact of bias for all members of our University and community.  We encourage our fellow faculty members to participate in implicit bias training as a critical step towards improving our campus climate.

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Marybeth GasmanHigher Education

Brian Keith, Cancer Biology

Marcella Devoto, Pediatrics

Daniel Kessler, Cell and Developmental Biology

Mike Nusbaum, Dept. of Neuroscience, Perelman School of Medicine

Kelly Jordan-Sciutto, Pathology/Dental Medicine

Arnaldo Diaz Vazquez, Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics

Akira Rodriguez, City and Regional Planning

Ezekiel Dixon-Roman, School of Social Policy & Practice

Nandita Mitra, Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Yale Cohen, Dept. Otorhinolaryngology, Perelman School of Medicine

David Feldser, Cancer Biology

Michael Marks, Pathology & Lab. Medicine

Michael Granato, Cell and Developmental Biology

Michael Platt, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Marketing

Elizabeth Grice, Dermatology

Warren Pear, Pathology & Lab Medicine

Steve DiNardo, Cell & Developmental Biology

Mechthild Pohlschroder, Biology

Daneil Powell, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Benjamin Voight, Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics

Stefano Rivella, Pediatrics

Nicole Rust, Psychology

Craig Bassing, Pathology

Christina Twyman-Saint Victor, Medicine

Sunny Shin, Microbiology

Akiva Cohen, Anesthesiology and critical care medicine

Daniel Singer, Philosophy

Lisa Miracchi, Philosophy

Lisa Lewis, School of Nursing

Jamie-Lee Josselyn, Creative Writing

Jorge J. Santiago-Aviles, Electrical and Systems Engineering

Maqsood Serang, Preventive and restorative sciences

Frank Setzer, Endodontics

Kenneth Hoelzle, Department of Restorative Dentistry

Brian Mark Schwab DMD, School of Dental Medicine

Heywood Kotch, Restorative Sciences/ Dental Medicine

Beverley Crawford, Preventive and Restorative Penn Dental Medicine

Lisa Lewis, School of Nursing

Catherine Wildenberg, School of Nursing

Sarah Goldfine-Ward, Biobehavioral Health Sciences, School of Nursing

Sarah Kagan, School of Nursing

Connie Scanga, School of Nursing

Anne Caputo, School of Nursing

Ruth Lebet, School of Nursing

Caleb Cross, Periodontics & Periodontal Prosthesis

Montserrat Anguera, Biomedical Sciences

Zhengxia Dou, Clinical Studies, NBC, PennVet

Corinne Sweeney, Clinical Studies-New Bolton Center, Penn Vet

Charles Bradley, Pathobiology, PennVet

James Serpell, Clinical Studies, School of Veterinary Medicine

Carolina Lopez, Pathobiology

Monique Pare, PennVet Anesthesiology

Sharon Irving, School of Nursing, FCH

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