The director of Syracuse University’s LGBT studies program wants the program to become a major course of study, and wants more faculty with a LGBT background hired.
According to The Daily Orange, Margaret Himley has developed a draft curriculum for the possible major, but it hasn’t officially been proposed due to “the lack of faculty committed solely to LGBT studies.”
Syracuse has had a LGBT studies minor since 2006. Himley claims “students are quite hungry” for a major so as “to apply [it] to the real world and make a difference.”
Having an LGBT studies major as well as a department of research-committed faculty would boost LGBT-inclusive efforts on campus, said Gizelle Jayne Vidal, resident adviser to SU’s LGBTQ+ Learning Community.
The University Senate Committee for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Asexual (LGBTQA) Justice and Advocacy has discussed a potential LGBT studies major multiple times and supports its establishment, committee member Francine D’Amico said.
D’Amico also served as former chair of Chancellor Kent Syverud’s Workgroup on Diversity and Inclusion, which formed in 2015. The group held two campus-wide listening sessions, and students and faculty advocated for expanding the curriculum on LGBT studies, she said.
Himley said the university will begin searching for a scholar in Black queer studies next fall as part of SU’s Cluster Hires Initiative. The scholar will be the program’s first faculty member with a discipline solely in an area of queer studies.
Himley has been director of the LGBT studies program since 2018. According to her faculty page, she’s written and edited articles and books on “the relationships of subjectivity and language and power and history, […] the value(s) of collective work, about the intellectual possibilities of classrooms, [and the] progressive aims for public schooling and higher education.”
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