PHOTO: The Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts, School of Language, Culture, and Society was featured in a student newspaper front page story by Alex Hilborn, "Queer studies position opens up for first time. For first time in OSU history, OSU seeks out new Queer Studies faculty," Barometer, Feb. 17, 2012, p. 1,3. This new academic group at OSU is perfect for the multi-million dollar research fund that I set up a few years ago with the OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement for research concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity.
PHOTO: Oregon State University Queer studies Associate Professor Qwo-Li Driskill. See news story by James Day, "Building a new curriculum: Queer studies, Associate Professor Qwo-Li Driskill is launching a new degree program at OSU," gazettetimes.com posted June 4, 2013.see previous posts New queer studies professor, OSU Magnus Hirschfeld Fund and OutHistory mentioned in student paper (6/7/13), OSU School of Language, Culture and Society is perfect for OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund (1/19/12) and OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12).
END OF UPDATE (6/9/13):
The full text of the article is below:
Oregon State University currently seeks to hire two employees for positions supporting the LGBTQ community of the university by fall of 2012.
An expanded university budget for new hires has allowed the School of Language, Culture and Society to fill a dedicated queer studies position for the first time in university history.
Despite Oregon State University's reputation as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly campuses in the nation, rankers have previously penalized OSU for its lack of solid queer studies-centered curriculum.
"It's an area that we want to build on. There has been a lot of student demand," said Susan Shaw, transitional director of the School of Language, Culture and Society. "Throughout the proposal process, the Provost's Office has given its full support."
In the past, some degree programs have offered courses with non-heteronormative themes, but the focus may have been more centered on the programs' discipline. Now with a position dedicated to queer studies, the school can offer a variety of classes completely focused on queer studies taking into consideration the various interests and knowledge bases of students.
The new hire for the queer studies position will join the School of Language, Culture and Society along with other new faculty members in ethnic studies, German and anthropology come fall of 2012. The first of four candidates for the position has already given a sample lecture about what he could offer the university, with the three remaining candidates set to give talks through March.
A selection committee picked the candidates out of hundreds of applicants based on their credentials and which services they might bring the OSU community.
"A lot of candidates were excited to see queer studies in the context of social justice," Shaw said on the socially proactive nature of the position, compared to other schools. "There weren't a lot of ads up this year, which sets us apart. There's a lot of diversity in the finalists."
With the addition of a queer studies position, the school has set the goal of eventually offering a minor in sexuality studies, using a blend of classes already in place and those that the new position will help create.
The new courses created under the queer studies position may also count toward Baccalaureate Core requirements or have an interdisciplinary approach, which allows for cross listing in various degree programs.
The school desires to make the classes accessible to as many people as possible, so that education on LGBTQ topics can help to generate greater understanding and support for the community and the issues it faces. Beyond providing education on LGBTQ topics through classes, Shaw said the school hopes to hire a candidate who will also take on a position as a role model in the LGBTQ community.
"I see that as important," said Rylan Wall, internal coordinator at the Pride Center. "A role not only to teach, but someone involved in the LGBTQ community."
The additional leadership in the LGBTQ community would help offer greater support to its members and cover gaps in the community's official university support structure.
Since July, nobody has sat in the office of LGBTQ Outreach and Services which oversees the Pride Center, leaving the community without its official university representation. To see the community through its transition to new leadership, several other OSU employees have stepped up to aid the community along with their regular job responsibilities.
"The biggest issue is knowing who to talk to about what," said Marisa Moser, external coordinator of the Pride Center. "Me and Rylan have had to take on extra administrative duties."
According to Allison Davis-White Eyes, Director of American Indian Initiatives in Intercultural Students Services, three candidates for the position of the Office of LGBTQ Outreach and Services will come to campus in March to demonstrate what they have to offer the position.
"We want someone out there who engages the community and forwards the discussion on LGBTQ issues in university community," Davis-White Eyes said. "We are excited for queer studies and ethnic studies. We hope to do some co-programming."