LGBTQ Student Experiences and Perceptions in Christian Higher Education: An Exploration of Institutional Climate and LGBTQ Persistence
Dallas Campus (Online)
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Committee Chair or Primary Advisor
Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor
Third Committee Member or Committee Reader
The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students at faith-based institutions that influence perceptions and persistence are not well known. Although institutions are committed to student growth and development, LGBTQ students are often treated with religious stigmatization and discrimination. This qualitative phenomenological research gave LGBTQ students a voice to share experiences that impact perceptions of campus climate, strategies that lead to persistence, and recommendations to strengthen institutional inclusiveness. The interview results from six LGBTQ students at various Christian institutions associated with the Council for Christian College and Universities provided in-depth considerations for faith-based institutions, specifically Christian, to increase enrollment, build more inclusive spaces, and improve student retention as it relates to this population. Through this research, institutions will be able to balance their religious ideals with LGBTQ student needs to promote an affirming campus climate without compromising missions. Study participants were recruited through a vast network of higher education professionals who have preestablished, trusted relationships with participants. Professionals were contacted through Facebook posts and outreach to network connections to share the research opportunity. As LGBTQ students communicated interest in the research, they were scheduled for one-on-one interviews to share their stories. The interviews showed that LGBTQ students often lack institutional support, no policies can positively or negatively embolden campus personnel, there is no one path from enrollment to graduation for LGBTQ students, and that vital support systems are essential to navigating campuses. Despite many of the participants sharing that an organization existed on their campus, these students continue to contend with conservative views on LGBTQ identities, feel they are used to understand issues but without resolution, and that institutional personnel seem unequipped to address campus or personal LGBTQ struggles.
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Ungaro, Anthony M., "LGBTQ Student Experiences and Perceptions in Christian Higher Education: An Exploration of Institutional Climate and LGBTQ Persistence" (2022). Digital Commons @ ACU, Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 433.