Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education, Teaching and Learning Sciences, Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher

Second Advisor

Paul Michalec

Third Advisor

Laura Sponsler

Fourth Advisor

Bin Ramke


Department chairs, Educational criticism and connoisseurship, Identity, LGBTQ, Role


LGBTQ rights have progressed tremendously in recent times, not long ago LGBTQ individuals could be arrested simply for being themselves. Though many rights have been won, the fight for equity continues. This is especially true in the field of education, many think of higher education as a pathway to equity, but in reality it can serve to solidify societal inequities. Campus climate studies of LGBTQ faculty members in higher education show that climate is most impactful at the departmental level (Nichols & Scott, 2005), others highlight the importance of department chairs in fostering climate within their departments (Bystydzienski et al., 2017). Literature reveals a gap in examining the experiences of LGBTQ department chairs. Understanding these experiences and how LGBTQ identity impacts their various roles could provide insight to department chairs on how to improve their departmental climate for all faculty members, especially those within the LGTBQ community. This study utilizes Educational Criticism to gain a better understanding of how LGBTQ department chairs experience and work within their roles as faculty and departmental leaders. Two LGBTQ department chairs, Dani and Alex, highlight their experiences, how roles intersect with their queer identity, and examine how they challenge the norms of what it means to be a departmental leader. Their experiences are framed by not only their queer identity, but also in this case their gender presentation. Dani and Alex’s queer identity is present in many roles, but it is negotiated differently in each. Participants bring an outsider perspective to the department chair position, this perspective is influenced by their experiences and fuels their fight for equity in their departments and at their institutions.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Ashton B. Clouse


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

167 pgs


LGBTQ studies, Higher education