At the American College Personnel Association Conference held in Boston, Massachusetts in March 2019, the GLBT Center received the Commitment to Social Justice Education award from the ACPA Commission for Social Justice Education. Graduate students Anna Christopher (social work) and Alex Ricciuti (higher education administration) represented the GLBT Center at the awards.
The award recognizes NC State’s GLBT Center for being “pioneers on campus shifting their work from non-discrimination to anti-discrimination” and for continuing to fight for justice on campus and in the NC State community through its GLBT Advocate Program, which will be entering its fifth year in the fall.
The Advocate program serves as a continuing education and engagement program for NC State faculty and staff, providing faculty and staff with ongoing opportunities for learning and for showing their support as allies and advocates of the GLBT community.
Through participation in the program, faculty and staff recognize manifestations of oppression within their classrooms, departments and/or communities and develop the skills necessary to intervene when they can. The Advocate program also helps faculty and staff create inclusive spaces and model a social justice-oriented community that offers peer support and coalition-building.
Throughout the 2018-2019 academic year, the Advocate program underwent a research-backed program evaluation to determine the effectiveness of and potential next-steps for the program. Four master’s of social work students conducted the evaluation for their final capstone project, analyzing assessment data collected from various workshops completed since the beginning of the program.
The findings from the research and program evaluation showed that the Advocate program has been successful in its mission to provide social justice education to members of the NC State community.
Recommendations included the collection of anonymous demographic data on post-workshop assessments to gain more comprehensive information about who is attending the workshops; re-evaluation and editing of post-workshop assessments to better discern how well participants understood the content being presented; for the four NC State campus community centers to co-sponsor peer and academic mentorship as well as perspective-taking exercises to continue building a socially-just community supporting faculty, staff and students; and to change the name of the Advocate program to more clearly represent the program’s purpose and intention.
Anna Christopher, MSW, is a program specialist in the GLBT Center.