Last week we kicked off Pride Month with tips for Building an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Campus. As we discussed, recent data show that nearly 20% of students (undergraduate and graduate) identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, queer, trans, nonbinary, or questioning. To better support our campus partners, and more importantly their LGBTQ+ students, our team has identified 3 additional ways campuses can reaffirm their commitment to inclusivity and support for this important cohort of students.
1) Respect Students’ Preferred Names
Put institutional processes in place to make sure you are respecting LGBTQ+ students’ (and all students’) preferred names and are not deadnaming any students.
What is Deadnaming?
Deadnaming is defined as using the name that a transgender or nonbinary person was given at birth and no longer uses upon transitioning.
Deadnaming or not calling students by their preferred name can create a hostile environment for an LGBTQ+ student because it can (purposefully or not) signal to these students that they are not welcome and accepted.
To respect students’ preferred names, provide students with ways to easily update their name in your internal institutional systems and be sure to accurately use that name in all correspondence. If students’ first names or initials are used in their institutional email or portal logins, create a way to also update those to reflect students’ preferred names.
2) Ask Students How You are Doing
It’s never been easier to gather feedback from your students. With a simple SMS or email campaign, similar to a Satisfaction Check or Wellness Check, you can check in with your students to see how you are doing with respect to supporting the LGBTQ+ community.
Some best practices we use when gathering data from students include:
Starting with a multiple choice or ranking to get the conversation started. Students are more likely to respond to subsequent questions if the first one is structured.
Leave space for open-ended answers. These responses are an invaluable asset when mining for authentic student perspectives.
Be concise. Period.
Data gathered from this type of outreach can provide actionable insights for you to continuously improve how you’re supporting LGBTQ+ students as well as your broader campus community.
3) Proactively Share Resources and Events Supporting LGBTQ+ Students
Are campus organizations hosting events or programs supporting or celebrating LGBTQ+ students? Consider how these events are being promoted and be sure all channels are being utilized to do so.
Additionally, consider the resources and supports available for the LGBTQ+ community on your campus. How are you ensuring students are aware of these important resources? Are the staff in these departments easily accessible and available? Make sure these resources are as well known and easily accessible as all other resources on your campus (e.g. tutoring, academic advising).
EdSights is Here to Help
In addition to the scheduled touch points of our research-backed framework, EdSights develops customizable SMS campaigns to enhance partner outreach. These include outreach programs designed to drive applications or alleviate summer melt for admissions as well as registration reminders for currently enrolled students.
As an extension of our upcoming Student Persistence Study, we’ll be incorporating new key data points in our framework to aid in identifying sentiment trends within the LGBTQ+ community related to wellness, engagement and more.
Additionally, our Partner Success team is available to all EdSights partners to collaborate on the best ways to collect and analyze data for your unique campus community.
It’s time for a quarterly roundup! Next week we will look at our top 3 blog posts over the last 3 months and deliver actionable updates for your team!