Background

How powerful are rumors? Frequently, students ask friends and/or look at instructor evaluations to decide if a class is worth taking. Kelley (1950) found that instructor reputation has a profound impact on actual teaching ratings. Towler and Dipboye (1998) replicated and extended this study by asking (a) Does an instructor's prior reputation affect student ratings? and (b) Does the size of this effect depend on student characteristics. This case study presents only data relevant to the former question.

Kelley, H. H.(1950). The warm-cold variable in first impression of persons. Journal of Personality, 18, 431-439.

Towler, A., & Dipboye, R. L. (1998). The effect of instructor reputation and need for cognition on student behavior (poster presented at American Psychological Society conference, May 1998). (Contact Annette Towler (towleraj@rice.edu) for a reprint of the article.)