Better serving our students today from a sex and gender standpoint
We are serving students from all backgrounds today. It is vital that we create an environment that feels safe and supportive of each student and the identities that make up their being. With the number of openly LGBTQ+ students steadily increasingly, we must incorporate support and resources that better support these realities and experiences. I worked with the student government officials and the Dean of Students to further discussion around the support we provide to this affinity group. Through round table discussions and research we found that one of the biggest disadvantages was presented to transgender students who were forced to go by a name that they didn't prefer. We worked to create policy allowing students have the ability to use their preferred name on the classroom rosters and student ID cards.
When we started the process of interviewing students we quickly realized that we had to do something sooner than later. We heard the stories of students who felt miserable every time they were referred to by the name on the classroom roster that they did not want to be associated with. This also created distance for the student because they were forced to revealing their story without the comfort of doing it on their own time in their own way. This discomfort was often reflected in classroom performance and campus engagement. Creating a system where students could be referred to by the name they prefer creates a healthier climate that makes everyone feel supported for who they are.
Research and connect with other institutions to understand best practices
This experience was extremely impact for me. It validated the importance of seeking to understand the experiences of others directly from them. As an inclusive campus it can become easy to stick to what we are doing to best serve students without realizing that the needs of our students are always changing. From this experience, I am more apt to constantly staying alert and aware of the needs of the students, in hopes of creating the best experience possible for them. I will carry this skill and desire with me throughout my work in every facet. The more context we have, the better we can serve and advocate.
You can click here to access the preferred name request form on my institution’s website. This form can be filled out by any student, faculty or staff member who prefers their name to be listed as something different on the website, their ID card and the classroom roster. This had made recruitment, retention, and student engagement efforts better for the institution as well. Preferred name request form on website. In addition, much of the context gained from this experience was also useful in creating a curriculum that speaks to inclusion and diversity. You can click here to access that as well.