The interrelationship between being lesbian and its impact on community college leadership Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/fb494b56d

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  • The purpose of this phenomenological research is to deepen understanding of the interrelationship between being lesbian and community college leadership experiences, values, priorities, practices, and identity negotiation. The following outlines thematic research findings. 1. Lesbian community college administrators' have experiences in: -- Anti-lesbian work environments that exposed them to homophobic jokes and statements and excluded them from formal and informal college structures. These environments left the women feeling depleted of energy and commitment and fearful of retaliation and job loss. -- Lesbian supported work environments had openly gay and lesbian faculty, staff, and administrators in the college community; integrated sexual orientation in non-discrimination clauses; supported gay and lesbian relationships as a valued part of the institutional diversity; and included gay and lesbian issues as part of the curriculum. These environments led to liberation and full participation in the community college mission. 2. Leadership values, priorities, and practices linked directly to lesbianism include: -- Mentorship of others, particularly other lesbians. -- Commitment to multiculturalism, equity, and fairness. -- Education of others about lesbian issues and lifestyles. 3. Lesbian identity negotiations in the workplace involved: -- Relentless decisions about when, where, and how to disclose sexual orientation to others. Factors considered by the women included reception by others, the level of trust with a colleague or supervisor, the degree to which the women perceive they could be hurt by the other, and a desire to be authentic and to have integrity. -- Relationship building to increase personal and professional acceptance in the workplace and mitigate stereotyping and negative reactions to their lesbianism. An informal network was used to fmd research participants who were current lesbian community college administrators in Washington State. Participants included two Women of Color and three European Americans, one of whom belongs to a religiously oppressed group. Semi-structured interviews were conducted on two separate occasions with each participant. The findings suggest that lesbian community college administrators possess many of the necessary values, priorities, and practices identified for a new generation of community college leaders specifically because they are lesbians and belong to an oppressed group in American society.
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