BY BTL STAFF
The LGBTQ Studies certificate, a 12-credit interdisciplinary program in the University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters, prepares students professionally and personally by concentrating on diverse forms of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
The certificate is an important addition to campus for many reasons, said Amy Brainer, Women’s and Gender Studies and Sociology assistant professor and LGBTQ Studies certificate program coordinator.
“This program is meaningful for LGBTQ students whose histories and cultures are often invisible or marginal in other programs of study,” she said. “Additionally, more and more employers and students are interested in LGBTQ studies as they wish to help build a more equitable and just society.”
Nearly every industry–from education to healthcare to social work–serves or employs LGBTQ individuals. And research confirms positive business-related outcomes when workplaces are supportive of LGBTQ issues. A 2013 report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law highlights increased productivity and greater job commitment when LGBTQ-supportive workplace policies are in place.
The certificate also shows the university’s commitment to the LGBTQ community.
“This certificate falls in line with our Metropolitan Vision. The goal of this certificate is engaged and integrated learning that will create positive change for our students and for the communities in which they live and work,” said Brainer, who plans to partner with LGBTQ organizations throughout southeast Michigan as a part of the program.
Brainer said the certificate, which is available to degree-seeking students or those who wish to take it as a post-baccalaureate standalone, will have a positive affect on campus as well.
As PRIDE adviser, she hears from students who identify as LGBTQ on the need for inclusion, resources and the ability to have their stories told. Courses offered within the certificate program include Queer Theory in Literature; LGBTQ Religious Experience; Sexuality, Gender and Bodies; Family, Sexuality and Human Rights and more.
“There is a lot of excitement about this new program from the students and faculty. Although there is still work to be done to strengthen this effort, the LGBTQ Studies certificate shows LGBTQ students and allies that they are a priority on our campus,” she said. “It shows that we have a real commitment. It’s not just lip service.”