Title: Director, Office of LGBTQ Resources
College / University / Organization: Bucknell University
Position for which you are applying: Standing Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness, Chair
In the space below, please describe your involvement with ACPA, including any leadership positions you have held .
My involvement with ACPA began back in 2003 by having the privilege of presenting at my first national conference on bisexual and fluid sexual identity development. Several colleagues from my grad program and I were chosen as one of the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness Sponsored Programs, providing us the opportunity to showcase work we were passionate about and hone our presentation skills. The supportive and constructive feedback from the presentation and the welcoming and inclusive nature of the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness, affirmed that ACPA would be my professional development “home.”
Over the next several years, I regularly volunteered for Standing Committee events and initiatives at the annual convention and utilized the resources that various Standing Committees and Commissions provided throughout the year. Though I applied and ran for several leadership positions, it wasn’t until the summer of 2008, when there was a sudden opening for an Administration Coordinator, that I began serving on the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness Directorate Body. Within the Directorate Body of the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness, I have served two consecutive one-year terms in the role of Administration Coordinator and a three-year term as Vice Chair for Administration.
Within these roles, my main accomplishments have been to advocate for reasoned, thoughtful updates to the Standing Committee’s use of technology, add process and accountability to the financial and accounting aspects of the committee, and increase transparency.
Please describe how you will work to advance ACPA’s Core Values if elected/appointed to this position.
If elected as Chair of the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness, I would continue the work of previous Chairs in building and maintaining relationships with other areas within ACPA. To develop the whole student, and value diversity, multicultural competence and human dignity, we must first start with ourselves. The Standing Committee and Commission structures allow us the opportunity to come to our work as ourselves, with the various identities and experiences we each hold. I am committed to thinking critically about how we can continue the work of celebrating the individual unique histories and contemporary contexts of each identity while working to navigate the complex interplay of these identities within our individual lived experiences.
I would encourage learning by example. Advancing and disseminate knowledge, continuously develop professionally and personally, and foster leadership skills, a free and open exchange of ideas and a willingness to incorporate new perspectives into our work would be a fundamental aspect of my leadership within the Standing Committee and ACPA. I view applying for this position as an opportunity for me to challenge my perspective in ways that my current position and current institution cannot. This opportunity gives me access to individuals who come to our work with a common passion, but very different personal professional and institutional perspectives. I seek out these opportunities to challenge myself and would encourage others to do so as Chair of the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness.
Lastly, I would bring to the Chair position an interconnection between my personal and professional identities – and the resources associated with that intersection. Serving my institution as Director of LGBTQ Resources, I have a deep understanding of the experiences of LGBTQ-identified people across higher education. I would also bring to the Chair position and ACPA a connection to other professional networks and resources, such as the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resources. Working with the LGBTQ experience in higher education directly allows me to have a keen eye on the advancement and dissemination of relevant knowledge and affords me a unique ability to provide outreach and advocacy to better that experience on various levels.
After reviewing the qualifications of the position for which you are applying, please describe briefly below how you believe you meet each qualification.
Reviewing the duties associated with the position, I believe I can bring the leadership and vision necessary to work towards advancing the goals of the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness. While many of the listed skills and duties of Chair are very practical (facilitate meetings, setting deadlines, data collection, submission of information and reports), I believe I am qualified and have the skills to perform these tasks in a way that is consistent with the values of the Standing Committee and ACPA. I would strive to run a participatory organization, where all members are valued and empowered to contribute towards our collective goals. Fostering leadership and development of skills would be central to the work of the Standing Committee under my leadership. Regarding the advocacy, communication, and financial responsibilities inherent in the position of Chair, I am dedicated to running a transparent, responsive, and accountable committee. My approach to advocacy is to be value-based and solution-focused. I have found it helpful to have conversations that are probing and educational about the values that have influenced a decision and work collaboratively to find solutions that are geared towards adding value and perspective to the process.
As a leader, how will you contribute to the work of the Association?
I believe the most useful ways in which I would contribute to the work of the Association is to bring a critical eye and a passion for higher education displayed by action. If elected to Chair, I would not take the faith placed in me lightly. The Association can expect a leader who is not afraid to ask difficult and pressing questions. In particular, I would ask those questions that allow us an open discourse about how and why we are doing something in relation to our values and mission. Valuing a free and open exchange of ideas must be modeled in the ways we speak about ourselves and displayed with transparency regarding how decisions are considered and made.
Discourse and a free exchange are critical, but action and the willingness to do work to enact decisions are absolutely necessary as well. Having a voice, representing a Standing Committee at the leadership level, is a great privilege, and one that I would express gratefulness for by showing up and actively doing work to advance the organization, our mission, and values. As a leader, I would model active participation in the work of the Association at all levels.
After reading the introductory statement about the ACPA Leader Selection Process, take a moment to reflect on your own experiences at the intersections of equity, inclusion and diversity. How will your experiences help you in our work to champion equity, inclusion and diversity within and outside the ACPA community?
I have given a bit of context as to how equity, inclusion, and diversity are central to my personal and professional values. To best answer this question, I think concrete examples of my approach to complex issues will help illustrate how I would champion an intersectional approach to this work.
As the Director of LGBTQ Resources, Trans* accessibility for our campus has been a consistent conversation since I began working at Bucknell. I have had some success working on creating housing policies to address some of these concerns, but, of course, this issue is larger than residence halls. As the conversation developed we began looking at restrooms in academic, administrative, and student-centered spaces, and I found the conversation centering only on Trans* accessibility to be limiting. I connected with our Office of Accessibility Resources and collectively we updated an assessment tool to perform an audit of our campuses restrooms for ADA compliance, gender inclusion possibilities, and female-bodied and family resources. Once complete, we will have a database of each of our restrooms, the resources available in each, and how accessible they are. This information will be used to inform our creation of future campus maps, facilities priorities, and advocacy.
Bucknell is one of the campuses that have historically held a “gay? fine by me.” t-shirt campaign. Most students loved the shirts. A subgroup of our LGBTQ-identified students wore them begrudgingly. This group viewed them as better than nothing but felt marginalized and excluded by the shirt for a number of reasons. After a couple of personal conversations, we launched a year-long discussion about the t-shirts, their historical significance at Bucknell, and what we as Bucknell and the LGBTQ community value. While certainly not easy, we have moved to a new campaign that allows us to center gender and sexual diversity but additionally celebrate various identities that we may hold.
I use these examples to contextualize many of my philosophies mentioned above through the lens of equity, inclusion, and diversity. By being collaborative, action-oriented, and identifying tangible solutions, concrete change has been able to occur. Through not shying away from controversy, encouraging dialogue, and reassessing decisions through our values, we have worked to become more inclusive. I would be honored to bring these skills to the position of Chair of the Standing Committee for LGBT Awareness and ACPA. I look forward to our membership holding me accountable to this work.