Event / Conference Presentations

Queer-Spectrum and Trans-Spectrum Student Experience in Higher Education: A Meta-Analysis

The Tyler Clementi Center is pleased to announce that we will be presenting at the 100th NASPA Annual Conference, slated for March 3-7th in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  We invite those in attendance to participate in our session.

Presentation Details

Time: March 5, 2018
Session Time: 2:30-3:20pm
Location: Marriott Downtown, Salon E

Presentation Description

Queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum students remain a significantly underserved population within higher education, despite the presence of disparities across measures of campus climate, academic, and health outcomes. As of 2015, less than 15% of American colleges and universities provided dedicated staff and operational support to address the unique needs of queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum populations.

In the context of institutional research, quantitative instruments utilized by institutions to measure student experience- both locally and nationally- have historically omitted demographic variables measuring sexual orientation and gender identity. In an increasingly data-driven culture, these omissions have rendered queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum students invisible to university decision-makers and program planners. Further, quantitative scholarship addressing sexual orientation and gender identity in higher education is consistently under-represented among higher education journals. A study of quantitative research published among tier-one higher education journals from 2010-2012 found that only 1.88% addressed sexual identity and 0.54% addressed gender identity. Conversely, while qualitative studies provide deep insight into the experiences of queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum students, their findings offer limited generalizability and present a significant obstacle to demonstrating the need for increased support of queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum students.

This landscape is at the precipice of a major shift, as leading higher education research centers increasingly incorporate sexual orientation and gender identity demographic variables into their respective instruments.

Year Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Variables were Included in National Datasets
Date that SOGI Variables Were Added to Each Survey Instrument

*From 2000-2007, sexual orientation and gender identity were ineffectively collapsed into a single question, “which of the following best describes you? Heterosexual, Gay/Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgendered, Other.” In 2008, the NCHA revised the survey with two distinct questions.
**Survey information retrieved from the following websites on 3/27/2017: https://heri.ucla.edu, http://nsse.indiana.edu, https://seru.umn.edu, and http://www.acha-ncha.org.

In Spring of 2016, the Tyler Clementi Center initiated a research collaboration with the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University Bloomington, the Higher Education Research Institute/Cooperative Institutional Research Program, the Student Experience At the Research University- Association of American Universities Consortium and the American College Health Association to conduct a meta-analysis of queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum responses within the aforementioned datasets. Collectively, this analysis represents the responses of 79,491 queer-spectrum students and 9,369 trans-spectrum students at 1,291 institutions- the largest analysis of queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum student experience in the history of Higher Education.

This presentation will begin with a moderated discussion on the complexities of conducting survey research with queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum students. Within the discussion, presenters will share their experiences incorporating these measures into their respective datasets, how each has operationalized sexual and gender identity within their survey instruments, the challenges that arise in navigating terminology/social stigma/politics of language across queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum communities, issues of privacy, confidentiality, relevance and primary audiences.

Following this discussion, presenters will individually share preliminary findings from the aforementioned meta-analysis as they relate to campus climate, academic outcomes and health outcomes. Each presenter will discuss findings from their respective dataset, exploring the intersection of sexual and gender identity with other key identities (race, ethnicity, religion, etc.) and the implications these findings have for policy and practice. Presenters will also discuss the limitations these surveys to understanding experiences unique to the queer-spectrum and trans-spectrum student population (internalized homophobia/ transphobia, familial support, “outness”, and social support networks) and the importance of conducting unique research with this population.

To conclude the session, the moderator will commence a question/answer period to further examine these issues among participant’s own research and/or institutional assessment.

Presenters: Maren Greathouse, Tyler Clementi Center; Dr. Allison BrckaLorenz, Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University Bloomington; Dr. Mary Hoban, American College Health Association; Dr. Ronald Huesman, SERU Consortium; Dr. Susan Rankin, Rankin & Associates; Dr. Ellen Stolzenberg, Cooperative Institutional Research Program, UCLA