12 March, 2014

Are out LGBTQ faculty less comfortable?

Allison and I were recently excited to see a new paper in the Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering, which presents the first nationwide study of queer experiences in STEM workplaces—in other words, the first study that starts to address the questions that inspired the Queer in STEM project. But what that study finds is a surprising contrast to our own results.

Eric Patridge (the president of oSTEM) worked with Ramón Barthelemy and Susan Rankin to reanalyze data from Campus Pride's 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People [PDF]. That survey had 279 responses from LGBTQ faculty members, 130 of which worked in STEM fields. Patridge and his coauthors separated out 83 faculty in the social sciences, leaving 47 STEM faculty members. Similarly to our survey, the Campus Pride study asked participants to rate how "out" they were on a scale of 1 to 5, and also asked how comfortable they were on campus as a whole, in their departments, and specifically in classroom settings.

The result is surprising, especially in comparison to our own data: of the STEM faculty who answered the Campus Pride survey, those who who rated their "outness" level as 4 or 5 were much more likely to say they were uncomfortable in their department.

Queer in STEM in NASPA Knowledge Communities

The new 2014 NASPA Knowledge Communities publication [PDF] includes a preview of the Queer in STEM dataset, presenting summary information about study participants and the relationship between outness and workplace climate ratings. We're very pleased to have been invited to contribute to the Knowledge Communities publication—and to connect the results of the study to folks who might be interested in NASPA's membership of student affairs professionals.