Program Description

Organization

The Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies is a university network of faculty and professional staff who are committed to advancement of instruction, research, and creative activity on issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in history, society, politics, and cultural life. Individuals from all campuses, colleges, schools, departments, and programs at Arizona State University are eligible to serve on the committee.

Purpose and Nature of Certificate

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies is the examination of the experiences, history, culture, and contemporary issues related to LGBT people. Through the certificate program, members of the ASU academic community are given the opportunity to prepare students for diversity and participatory democracy and advance social knowledge about issues related to LGBT communities.

LGBT people play important roles as colleagues, clients, parents, children, siblings, neighbors, employees and employers, religious leaders, and friends. Given the increasing visibility and changing political climate for LGBT people in the United States, all students—not only those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender—are served well by learning about the histories, communities, and contemporary social issues regarding people from LGBT backgrounds. The educational experience is enhanced when students are introduced to complex intersections between and among sexual, racial, ethnic, religious, geographic, and national identities. The philosophy of this certificate program is to promote intellectual and pedagogical diversity as one of the university’s greatest assets, in part by instilling in students sensitivity to cultures different from their own. but also through careful analysis of the self in historical, artistic, and sociocultural contexts.

This certificate offers students a set of analytical skills and a sense of civic responsibility. Since its founding. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies has placed great emphasis on training students to be of service to local communities. as well as society at large. LGBT students will be future leaders and policy makers. In his celebrated book The Rise of the Creative Class (Basic Books. 2002), Richard Florida refers to a Gay Index as an indicator of a successful high-technology industry growth in a metropolitan area, not because the employees in the technology industry are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, per se, but rather because a community that is open to difference is appealing to the educated creative class (pp. 255-258).

The certificate is a step toward the openness and sophistication of a creative ecosystem. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies programs encourage students to undertake partnerships with the broader community, especially through internships and use-inspired research. Internships and community partnerships enable students to engage in socially relevant research and offer social service providers more culturally sensitive employees. Off campus, then, students gain experiential and cultural knowledge and apply principles and concepts learned in the classroom. On campus, students are encouraged to think critically about the world around them and examine how knowledge claims are generated, validated, and challenged. These are important skills for students to take with them after they leave the university. This aspect of the certificate reinforces ASU’s commitment to the university in the 21st Century, by reconfiguring the relationship between the university and community through socially embedded learning.

The certificate also provides students interested in graduate and professional studies a competitive advantage as they pursue their post baccalaureate education. Students graduating with a certificate in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies are well situated to begin graduate work in a variety of disciplines across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. These students are also well prepared to begin professional training in a wide variety of areas including, but not limited to, law, business and public administration, journalism, urban planning, counseling, education, library sciences, health administration, and social work. The background they receive from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies prepares them by offering not only a background in LGBT histories, cultures, and social issues, but also the theoretical and research methods needed to interrogate discovery and the ways we generate knowledge.

Finally, this certificate offers students important knowledge for employment. Demographic data highlight the increasing diversity of society, along with the increasing visibility and changing status of LGBT people. Students with an interdisciplinary knowledge of LGBT concerns and how they relate to other aspects of social location and cultural identity will be well prepared for employment in many occupations, including business and management, education, public and social policy, social services, health professions, law, high-tech industries, and other lines of work that involve interaction with coworkers and clients from diverse backgrounds.