Professor Peter Grevstad successfully defends his PhD

Congratulations to Dr. Peter Grevstad on the success of his doctoral dissertation, Queering Places, and Curricular Spaces: LGBGTQ+ Students in the Community, the College, and the Curriculum. The defense occurred in August 2022 at OISE, University of Toronto. Read the full abstract of his credential below:

This exploratory dissertation addresses a significant gap in Canadian scholarship: the inadequate recognition of LGBTQ+ student experiences in a community college, and the problem of queer presence in the curriculum, college, and community. The research question is: “What are the school experiences of LGBTQ+ students in an Ontario college, and how does campus climate affect experiences such as coming out?”

This work introduces campus climate, Queer identity formation, the ‘campus closet’, and the problem of unwelcoming schools with heteronormative curricula and school ethos. Campus climate for LGBTQ+ students is problematic, yet a positive climate is fundamental to students’ feeling welcome, as institutions undertake EDI initiatives.

Literature uses a social justice framework, and introduces major themes: LGBTQ+ identity formation; the lack of recognition of diversity in schools; research and policy which do not serve students equally; and curriculum as heteronormative social control. This project employs qualitative research methods, in particular grounded theory, to situate the experiences of LGBTQ+ college students in Canada. Campus climate should reflect Queer presence in the curriculum, the college, and the wider community.

The findings introduce the research participants, and reflections on homophobia, campus climate, inclusive curriculum, as well as social relationships inside and outside the classroom. Findings also suggest a theory about the school lives of LGBTQ+ students: that for queer students a positive campus climate lies at the intersection of Queer in the curriculum, Queer in the college, and Queer in the community, and further, that a welcoming local community, institution, and curriculum shape the school experiences of LGBTQ+ students, and contribute to their persistence in their studies and successful degree completion, as well as to their determination of a post-secondary education being an experience worth wanting.