Scholar to speak on race and gender bias in legal academia

Photo of Prof. Meera DeoThe University of Arkansas at Little Rock Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE) will welcome Professor Meera Deo, J.D., Ph.D., on March 29 at 12:05 p.m. The event, which is co-sponsored by ATLE and the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law Diversity and Excellence Committee, is open to all UA Little Rock faculty.

Deo will be discussing her recent book, “Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia.” The book draws from her landmark Diversity in Legal Academia (DLA) project, the first formal empirical study to investigate intersectional race and gender challenges and opportunities facing law professors in their personal and professional lives. The book not only exposes ongoing biases, but also reveals individual strategies and structural solutions to maximize success.

Deo’s research examines the experiences of law faculty at all stages of the career. The qualitative and quantitative findings from original interview and survey data reveal a national pattern of intersectional bias. The data indicate ongoing barriers to hiring, promotion, and leadership. Classroom confrontations and biased course evaluations have devastating effects on tenure.

Data from various sources make clear that these problems are systemic throughout legal practice and other fields. “Unequal Profession outlines individual strategies that have facilitated success for many study participants that can be adapted for others. Necessary structural solutions are also examined in the book.

While Deo’s research focuses on legal academia and the legal profession, comparisons with other academic disciplines may be made.

Deo is the director of the Law School Survey of Student Engagement, professor of law at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, and the William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law at the American Bar Foundation. Her research merges jurisprudence with empirical methods to interrogate institutional diversity, affirmative action, and racial representation.

The National Science Foundation, Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship, AccessLex Institute, Wolters Kluwer, and others have supported Deo’s groundbreaking research. In 2020, she was elected to the American Law Institute. Deo has served as a Senate-appointed member of the California Commission on Access to Justice, an empirical research consultant to the ACLU of Southern California and the Law School Admission Council, and Chair of the AALS Section on Law and the Social Sciences.

ATLE is part of UA Little Rock’s ongoing commitment to the pedagogical professional development of its faculty. The goal of ATLE is to foster excellence in teaching and learning by promoting the sharing of ideas, by growing faculty fellowship and collaboration, and by building a strong community of engaged teachers and learners. More information about ATLE and its events.

Faculty in attendance may enter a raffle to receive signed copies of Professor Deo’s book. More information and to RSVP.

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