Date of Award

Spring 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Dr. Dana Morrison, Ph., Thesis Adviser, Assistant Professor

Committee Member

John Elmore, Ph.D., Thesis Defense Chair, Department Chair,

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D., Associate Professor


Too often higher education educators take a lackadaisical approach to solutions surrounding negative queer and trans student experiences; however, educators hold an obligation to foster student success, retention, catalyze identity development, and maximize the human potential of queer and trans students. This master’s thesis develops a systematic and organizational approach to achieving an equitable campus for queer and trans student experience through a critical action research proposal. Utilizing my perspective as queer and trans educator and/or student, I will primarily use the philosophical lens of Friere, hooks, Foucault, and queer theory to support my philosophy of education. Theoretical frameworks from adult learning theory and strategic models of higher education will support the proposed intervention.

The Queering the University Strategic Imperative is a structural intervention that aims to mitigate mis-educative, oppressive higher education policies and practices that negatively impact queer and trans populations in American colleges and universities. The intervention will hold four components that will systematically improve the campus climate through shifts in culture and organization. Expectations in leadership for the intervention will be guided by the tenants of Queer Activist Leadership in Higher Education(Pryor, 2020) with use of assessment and evaluation to measure success through national self-assessment tools, learning evaluations, and focus groups. Overall, this thesis cultivates a vision for a university where the principles and use of action research are incentivized and fosters an equitable educational experience for queer and trans students.