Gender and Sexuality Alliance raising support for LGBTQ+ studies program
Student survey open through Spring Break to assess interest for minor or certificate
The Central Michigan University Honors' Program Gender and Sexuality Alliance president, Lucas Sherman said he developed an interest in establishing an LGBTQ+ studies program at CMU after realizing other higher-education institutions like Purdue University, Grand Valley State University, University of Michigan, and Wayne State University offer a comparable degree.
"We kind of identified (the minor) as something that Central Michigan is lacking," he said. "So, we were just kind of wondering, if all these other schools have it, let's see if we can start something at CMU."
Last fall, he started talking with his peers in GSA and other faculty members to explore the possibility of starting a program.
Now, the GSA is gathering community interest for either a minor or certificate in LGBTQ+ studies with a student survey released in mid-January.
According to CMU's Bulletin, a minor is at least 20 credits and is intended to be completed alongside a major while pursuing an undergraduate degree. A certificate is 12 to 18 credits and can be completed with or without a degree.
"We're really hoping to show the university that this is something that students would like and actually want to have happen," Sherman said. "So, let's get started on that process."
The survey, with about a dozen questions, will be open until before Spring Break. Sherman said he hopes to meet with administration by the end of March.
Sherman is also working with faculty members to discuss a potential curriculum for the program.
"There would be at least a couple new class added," he said. "Really, it'll be up to faculty members (and) who has a course they could offer (or) would want to offer."
Physical Education and Sports faculty member Marcia Mackey said she is interested in teaching a course related to the LGBTQ+ athlete at the high school, collegiate, and international levels of competition.
She said creating awareness, like with the program, is the first step toward inclusion.
“The minor will provide an opportunity for students to explore concepts and analyze issues from multiple perspectives,” she said. “Awareness leads to questioning, which leads to understanding, which leads to ally(ship) and inclusion.”
CMU's Women and Gender Studies Minor offers courses in LGBTQ+ identities and gender studies, but Sherman said an LGBTQ+ Studies Program would “dive into those topics deeper.”
He said it would explore subjects including LGBTQ+ history, different identities, and the policies and processes that have hindered or harmed the LGBTQ+ community.