Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

David Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.

Committee Member

John Elmore, Ph.D.


This thesis is an examination of the field of higher education and student affairs as it relates to members of the trans and queer communities. Higher education was historically created for the religious education of wealthy, white, cisgender, straight, able-bodied, neurotypical men, and as the diversity of folx in higher education increased the institution of higher education has had to adapt. However, the basis of higher education and the field of student affairs holds that professionals be invested in the student development and wellness of all students, including those with marginalized identities. Identity-based centers have long been held as a part of the solution in addressing the needs of students with marginalized identities. I use the history of higher education and student affairs in conjunction with Astin’s (1984) theory of Involvement, Schlossberg’s (1989) theory of Marginality and Mattering, Baxter-Magolda’s (2014) Self-authorship theory, Decolonization theory, and Queer theory to prove the importance and necessity of having a center for trans and queer communities at all institutions of higher education. And, finally, I go into detail about how this center would ideally operate to uphold all five theories.