Date of Award

5-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Department

Higher Education

First Advisor

Yakaboski, Tamara

Abstract

This study explores the experiences lesbian academics have in making decisions in the areas of family life and career. While the area of queer studies is a continuously growing field, the literature and discussions often group lesbians with gay men and as a result push them as a group to the side. Lesbian identified faculty members are in a unique position of being women and facing the pressures and expectations that all women academics face while also encountering additional obstacles and experiencing added advantages due to their sexuality. In exploring the consequences, advantages and choices lesbian academics make related to career development, expectations, decisions on family creation, and challenges with the public/private spheres through in-person interviews, several themes emerged. The goal of this study is to identify the decision-making process of lesbian identified academics within the higher education setting and how those decisions are related to the academic environment's specific pressures and expectations. The implications of this study could inform higher education policies in terms of inclusion, recruitment, and retention of lesbian identified faculty.

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