Kent State University’s LGBTQ Studies Program explores topics, theories and issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. It is an academic minor program open to students from all majors, colleges and campuses.
Using an interdisciplinary perspective to explore sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, the program involves affiliate faculty from four campuses and fourteen separate disciplines, providing students with a range of scholarly approaches and methodological styles. Students are required to take 18 hours of courses to complete the minor, but are able to customize their coursework to better fit their majors and career goals. Students from all majors and minors are welcome to take any of the classes offered.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Studies Program
Kent State University’s LGBTQ Studies Program is the oldest Sexuality Studies program in Ohio. Founded in 2001, this academic program has recently expanded to include new courses and has hired its first full-time professor.
Our university has a strong legacy of diversity as well as a commitment to LGBTQ students and social justice. The student group Kent Gay Liberation Front (the original name of Pride! Kent) held its first meeting in 1971, in the home of English professor Dolores Noll. Noll was the first professor at Kent to come out of the closet, and offered one of the earliest LGBTQ Studies classes in history that same year. She continued to teach Lesbian and Gay courses until she retired in 1981.
No LGBTQ classes were taught until 1994, when “The Sociology of Gays and Lesbians,” was developed by Dr. Robert Johnson of Sociology. Johnson joined Political Science/Women’s Studies professor Dr. Trudy Steuernagel and Dr. Molly Merryman, then the director of the Women’s Resource Center, in creating Ohio’s first LGBTQ Studies program in 2001.
In 2016, Kent State hired its first full-time professor in LGBTQ Studies, Lauren Vachon, MFA, who had been teaching LGBTQ Studies as a part-time faculty member. Kent State also established the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, which houses LGBTQ Studies and Women’s Studies.
The core LGBTQ Studies are offered online to ensure that students can take classes and complete the minor from all Kent campuses, while studying or living abroad, regardless of their work schedules.
LGBTQ Studies faculty have partnered with the Office of Online and Distance Learning to create classes that follow the Quality Matters markers of excellence and provide best practices of online education and engagement.