Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Matthew Kruger-Ross, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline S. Hodes, Ed.D.


The structure of a chosen family centers love, commitment, empathy, and accountability into relationships outside of a person's biolegal family. This project asks, if student affairs professionals framed their advising and mentoring work with a platonic and familial sense of love and commitment, would it offer their students a new sense of openness, trust, and community? Using theories of love in education and building a teaching community by bell hooks (2003; 2018), Paulo Freire's (1970) banking model of education, and experiential learning by John Dewey (1997), I examine these chosen family relationships and their application into higher education advising. In this framework, advising is redefined to include peers, mentors, professors, program directors, staff members, administrators, and other campus agents, all acting in an advisory role, to build a chosen family. To address this concern, I propose a peer advising program, QueerPeers. Queer Peers pairs incoming first year and transfer students with fellow LGBTQ students to build a network of queer students on campus, with incorporated casual academic advising. Students involved in the program would either be a big (mentor) or a little (mentee), to build a lineage of queer students at the university.