Queer Staff & Faculty Retention Program at HSU
Funding by an Office of Diversity & Inclusion Diversity Grant
HSU has focused retention efforts on students and, to a lesser extent, on faculty. We applaud these activities and the organizations across campus that support these endeavors. From the recent diversity focus groups, we discovered a desire to create community and retention-building among queer staff. (In this application, the term "queer" is used collectively for all self-identified Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex [GLBTQI] people, and refers to staff members unless specifically stated otherwise.)
Program Description and Goals
The entire retention program will comprise 3 components of a long-term plan, which will be enacted sequentially. Funding is requested for the first two.
- A queer social group. For the first year, this will provide queer staff the opportunity to 1) meet other queer staff across campus, 2) discuss issues that affect queer staff, and 3) have staff mentors who have been on campus and can help new staff navigate the university. This will be a monthly safe space meeting for open and honest discussions, alternating between on and off campus.
- A queer book group. Nearly all participants in the focus group that catalyzed this grant application had been in a book group in 2010-2011, and all spoke highly of the experience. We plan to have a reading group whose purpose would be to explore issues and encourage discussions relevant to queers in higher education, particularly from a non-faculty perspective (i.e., from a staff or student perspective). Some possible topics include identity development, homophobia, career development, student organizations, and mentoring. The target audience is queer staff who want to go further than a social group, as well as queer allies who wish to participate in these discussions.The first book considered is "Toward Acceptance: Sexual Orientation Issues on Campus" (Wall & Evans, eds.).
- A queer student-queer staff/faculty mentoring program. The eventual goal is to implement a mentoring program that matches queer-identified students with a queer-identified or queer-ally staff/faculty to help retain both students and staff.