Committee Chair

Rutledge, Valerie

Committee Member

Miller, Ted; Petzko, Vicki; Dubek, Laura


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Many universities and colleges are considering if potential students should disclose their sexual orientation when filling out an application for admission. This recent trend, however, has generated a debate among administrators who work directly with LGBT students: What, they wonder, are the various positive and negative implications of quantifying sexual orientation? To address this question, this study utilized a descriptive design and looked at a national LGBT organization of educators, a non-generalizable population of approximately 700 members, in order to identify, categorize, exemplify, and describe the complex issues surrounding a sexual-orientation demographic. The methodology included a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures that were delivered through a seventeen-item, on-line questionnaire. Quantitative responses were analyzed with frequency distributions, percent distributions, disaggregation, and cross tabulations. Qualitative responses relied upon coded assessment derived from grounded theory. Descriptive statistics, for instance, showed that 90% of respondents were aware of the trend and that 41% worked at an institution that had considered adding to its application a demographic for sexual orientation. Descriptive statistics also indicated that respondents were divided among their levels of support for this trend at their own institutions and within academe in general. Coded assessment of the qualitative responses revealed numerous beneficial and detrimental concerns associated with a sexual-orientation demographic.


A dissertation is essentially a collective effort, and I must formally acknowledge the following individuals for their wisdom, advice, kindness, friendship, and support. First to Patricia Baines: You know that you, like, totally rock because you helped with all the bits and pieces. Secondly to my UTC friends, including my committee members (for obvious reasons), other faculty members (especially Dr. Beth Crawford for her assistance with EndNote), and fellow doctoral students (especially Jody Love Hancock and Lindy Blazek): I struggled, screamed, and stammered, yet you consistently offered guidance and encouragement—and most of all patience and compassion. Thirdly to my other wonderful, dear friends, especially to Kathleen Bryan Herron (who is, of course, pretty and smart!), Wendy Headrick, Greg Gardner, Shan Overton, and Ramona Burton: You are my touchstones, those very individuals to whom I turn when life gets nasty—and even when it is blissful and good. Also to Mom, Dad, and Nancy: They are not without notice, your love, friendship, and support—emotional and, of course, financial. Fourthly to Dr. Laura Dubek: Without you, I reason, this dissertation would never have happened; you encouraged me to teach gay and lesbian literature, and from this endeavor came the genesis for this important study. And lastly to Dr. Verbie Prevost: You illustrated the power of extraordinary pedagogy, a skill that continues to influence my own teaching and scholarship, even twenty years after a master’s degree in English literature. And there is a final note of gratitude, one given to life’s guilty little pleasures—to those very things that magically and momentarily remove us from the humdrum. What would I have done without the Tour de France, Downton Abbey, Torchwood, PBS, and scores of books—many literary and scholarly, some commercial—that opened windows into the human condition and foreign, long-ago worlds? Ah, to live vicariously—even enviously! Perhaps that is the ultimate panacea to the day-to-day grind and, yes, to the interminable dissertation.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Education; Higher; Universities and colleges -- Admission


LGBT students; College applications; Sexual orientation; College admissions; Self-reporting sexual orientation


Higher Education

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xv, 169 leaves