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College of Arts and Sciences Newsroom

Deans Summer Fellowship research project aides inclusivity training for faculty

By Lauren McCarty ’26

University of Dayton senior Logan Trzeciak worked to make classrooms more inclusive by creating resources to educate faculty on how to support LGBTQ+ students through the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Summer Fellowship program.

Trzeciak, a human rights studies and French major from Dayton, collaborated with Anya Galli Robertson, assistant professor of sociology and UD’s inaugural Fellow for LGBTQ+ Inclusion. 

Using an applied research approach, based on studies about how LGBTQ+ students can be better supported in the classroom, they created videos, resource guides, and in-person and virtual training sessions.

“I wanted to help faculty understand how they can be better stewards for LGBTQ+ students' comfort and success,” Trzeciak said.

He was interested in doing an internship that involved human affairs and contacted Galli Robertson, who is working to create professional development and training opportunities for UD faculty and staff related to LGBTQ+ topics.

“I was looking for a student voice from the community to add to the conversation,” Galli Robertson said. “I think it's one thing for faculty to hear from faculty. They are much more receptive to student voices, as well as academic literature and data about what is most effective.”

They connected via the Dean's Summer Fellowship program, which allows undergraduate students to conduct summer research in any academic discipline under the guidance of a faculty mentor with funding through the College Dean’s Fund for Excellence.

From their experiences and through discussions with LGBTQ+ community members, Galli Robertson and Trzeciak identified the classroom as a place where inclusion and support for LGBTQ+  students can be instrumental to their personal development.

Galli Robertson said the initiative is supported by the University’s Catholic Marianist values, which highlight the importance of an inclusive community as an environment that promotes personal growth for all students. She said UD leadership has done a great job linking education with inclusion.

“Being a Catholic, Marianist university, the charism of common good and respecting others is so important to this project,” Trzeciak said. “The set rule of openness and respecting others that we follow at UD aided this research.” 

Through reviewing academic literature and data on the mental health of LGBTQ+ students, they found best practices for faculty and staff to promote inclusion.  They include the chosen name policy, which allows students, faculty and staff to change their names in University systems and encourages faculty to recognize students may go by something different than their given name. Another example is symbolic allyship, which allows faculty to show and tell students they are allies by embracing LGBTQ+ symbols and sharing their pronouns. 

Trzeciak and Galli Robertson worked with staff from UD’s Ryan C. Harris Learning Teaching Center to create instructional videos such as How To Use Pronouns in the Classroom, in which Trzeciak explains using different pronouns for students who identify as non-binary or transgender. 

“Working with the people at the LTC was really gratifying,” Tzreciak said. “Working with Aidan Curran, who helped us with our video on best practices, was so insightful on how I can use my talents to best accomplish the goals I have.” 

In early November, Trzeciak attended the 31st annual Midwest Bisexual Gay Lesbian Trangender Allied College Conference in Lexington, Kentucky, where he presented his research to help other universities create similar workshops and training materials. Trzeciak was grateful for this opportunity and praised his mentor for her knowledge about literature and research. 

“In the past four years I have really seen the LGBTQ+ community grow a lot and be more open on campus thanks to people like Anya,” Trzeciak said. “I think the efforts of faculty have been instrumental in growing the community and helping students to be more themselves. Through the programs and events we have held with the Brook Center for Empowerment and Well-being, we have reached a greater number of students and expanded what it means to be LGBTQ+ on a Catholic campus.”

For more information, visit the LGBTQ+ Student Services and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion websites.

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