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A Social Justice Framework for Application of Critical Research Methodologies Bharat Mehra School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee E-mail:

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1 A Social Justice Framework for Application of Critical Research Methodologies Bharat Mehra School of Information Sciences, University of Tennessee URL: Date: 2 April, 2007

2 Agenda Select Critical Research Considerations Select Critical Research Considerations Past Research Past Research A Social Justice Framework A Social Justice Framework One Current Research Project: Community Action on Behalf of LBGTQ Populations One Current Research Project: Community Action on Behalf of LBGTQ Populations Team activity: Your application of the social justice framework to a topic/project of your choice Team activity: Your application of the social justice framework to a topic/project of your choice

3 Critical Research Assumes that social reality is historically constituted and that it is produced and reproduced by people Assumes that social reality is historically constituted and that it is produced and reproduced by people Recognizes that people’s ability to consciously act to change their social and economic circumstances is constrained by various forms of social, cultural and political domination Recognizes that people’s ability to consciously act to change their social and economic circumstances is constrained by various forms of social, cultural and political domination Acknowledges that the main task of research is one of social critique, whereby the restrictive and alienating conditions of the status quo are brought to light, questioned, and changed Acknowledges that the main task of research is one of social critique, whereby the restrictive and alienating conditions of the status quo are brought to light, questioned, and changed Jurgen Habermas of the Frankfurt School

4 Critical Research Considerations Working with underserved populations: Critical theory recognizes perspectives of all stakeholders in different situations and this includes points of view of the under-represented in order to “do justice to a diversity of socially defined perspectives while providing a grounding for the evaluation of controversial problems” (Endres, 1996, ¶24). Working with underserved populations: Critical theory recognizes perspectives of all stakeholders in different situations and this includes points of view of the under-represented in order to “do justice to a diversity of socially defined perspectives while providing a grounding for the evaluation of controversial problems” (Endres, 1996, ¶24). Reflective process to question traditional understandings and scrutinize existing values, practices, ideological frameworks, and processes (Kellner, 1989; Habermas, 1993; Froomkin, 2003). Reflective process to question traditional understandings and scrutinize existing values, practices, ideological frameworks, and processes (Kellner, 1989; Habermas, 1993; Froomkin, 2003).

5 Past Research Under-represented Population Research Context Information Context Method of Research Minority residents East St. Louis Building geographic information systems Mapping city’s cultural and physical fabric Use of IT in community technology centers Participatory design Service learning Action research Community networking Low-income individuals Small Business Owners Prairienet Community Network in East- Central Illinois Technology training Building culturally relevant online content Action research Community networking Local African-American women SisterNet, a group of activist Black women Health information and services Participatory action research Community networking Sexual minorities Urbana- Champaign, Illinois Computer-mediated communication and use of online resources for action-oriented change in their everyday lives Content analysis Socially grounded methods Puerto Rican community Chicago’s Paseo Boricua neighborhood Development of a community library as a symbol of cultural identity Service learning Action research Community networking International teaching assistants UIUC “Glocal” use of the Internet to fulfill their ‘diasporic’ needs; “Glocal” use of the Internet to fulfill their ‘diasporic’ needs; Mixed quantitative and qualitative methods International doctoral students GSLIS, UIUC Building a model of their experiences for internationalizing implications in LIS education; Qualitative methods Participant observation Content analysis

6 Critical Research Considerations Change agency and empowerment: Elicit suggestions for improvements to make people’s experiences better; Bring a change in socio-economic and sociopolitical realties by “helping people help themselves” (Mehra, 2006a) Change agency and empowerment: Elicit suggestions for improvements to make people’s experiences better; Bring a change in socio-economic and sociopolitical realties by “helping people help themselves” (Mehra, 2006a)

7 Methods: Participatory Action Research Challenge traditional definitions of knowledge Democratization of the knowledge process in which the people who are usually considered “research subjects” become part of the research process as researchers analyzing their own experiences (Mehra, 2006b) Challenge traditional definitions of knowledge Democratization of the knowledge process in which the people who are usually considered “research subjects” become part of the research process as researchers analyzing their own experiences (Mehra, 2006b) Emphasis on social justice and social equity via action to change imbalances in distribution of resources, information, and power (Stoecker & Bonacich, 1992) Emphasis on social justice and social equity via action to change imbalances in distribution of resources, information, and power (Stoecker & Bonacich, 1992)

8 Qualitative Research Methods: Action Research AR aims to contribute both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate problematic situation and to the goals of social science by joint collaboration within a mutually acceptable ethical framework (Rapoport, 1970, p. 499) AR aims to contribute both to the practical concerns of people in an immediate problematic situation and to the goals of social science by joint collaboration within a mutually acceptable ethical framework (Rapoport, 1970, p. 499) AR is a valid research method in applied fields, provides outcome-based results, and suggests direction for change (Kemmis & McTaggart, 1988) AR is a valid research method in applied fields, provides outcome-based results, and suggests direction for change (Kemmis & McTaggart, 1988) AR is closely ties to interpretive inquiry; hence traditional criteria to evaluate rigor in experimental research— objectivity, reliability, validity, and generalizability—are inappropriate, and AR researchers may establish trustworthiness of their study by reporting on credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability (Stringer, 1999). AR is closely ties to interpretive inquiry; hence traditional criteria to evaluate rigor in experimental research— objectivity, reliability, validity, and generalizability—are inappropriate, and AR researchers may establish trustworthiness of their study by reporting on credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability (Stringer, 1999).

9 Critical Research Considerations - Democratic and participative ideologies - Equal participation of disenfranchised users - Learning in collaboration - Community inquiry into participant’s everyday experiences - Online-offline convergences - Use of mixed methods - Situated nature of applications and concrete outcomes - Promoting inclusiveness: Outreach in planning and policy implementation

10 Social Justice Considerations Mehra, B., Albright, K. S., & Rioux, K. (2006). A Practical Framework for Social Justice Research in the Information Professions. Proceedings of the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology 2006: Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future For All. Volume 43. [poster/short paper] Recognize traditionally identified “marginalized” as equals who are experts in knowing their own situations/realities Recognize traditionally identified “marginalized” as equals who are experts in knowing their own situations/realities Develop equitable partnerships in LIS to empower people to make changes in their everyday circumstances Develop equitable partnerships in LIS to empower people to make changes in their everyday circumstances Discard labels that minimize people’s experiences and identify all project participants as community researchers Discard labels that minimize people’s experiences and identify all project participants as community researchers

11 Social Justice Goal in LIS Research Contextualize LIS work in the everyday experiences of society's "marginalized" in ways that make a difference in their socio-economic and socio-political experiences of marginalization Contextualize LIS work in the everyday experiences of society's "marginalized" in ways that make a difference in their socio-economic and socio-political experiences of marginalization Recognize the diverse potential of LIS work for bringing real change in people's lives Recognize the diverse potential of LIS work for bringing real change in people's lives Begin to re-examine LIS scholarship, practice, and relevance to emerging social contexts of the 21st century; Begin to re-examine LIS scholarship, practice, and relevance to emerging social contexts of the 21st century; Identify and explore a range of "how to" methods and approaches in LIS that may build upon the existing and perhaps limited measures of social justice outcomes and impacts. Identify and explore a range of "how to" methods and approaches in LIS that may build upon the existing and perhaps limited measures of social justice outcomes and impacts.

12 Key Social Justice Elements An underserved population: Identifies which group (or individuals) we are working with. An underserved population: Identifies which group (or individuals) we are working with. The information (communication) need: Presents an asset-based approach that recognizes the strengths of various stakeholders (including the identified “marginalized”); it goes beyond a deficit approach traditionally adopted in LIS research and helps to develop a service plan that taps into existing strengths embedded in the project. The information (communication) need: Presents an asset-based approach that recognizes the strengths of various stakeholders (including the identified “marginalized”); it goes beyond a deficit approach traditionally adopted in LIS research and helps to develop a service plan that taps into existing strengths embedded in the project. Methodologies: Examines research approaches used in the process of engaging with the study population. Methodologies: Examines research approaches used in the process of engaging with the study population. Outcomes: What are the tangible and intangible changes that have occurred in the lives of the targeted individuals before and after getting involved in the project? Outcomes: What are the tangible and intangible changes that have occurred in the lives of the targeted individuals before and after getting involved in the project? Assessment and evaluation: Did the original need that motivated the interaction get addressed? How effective were the strategies that were adopted to address the original issue? Assessment and evaluation: Did the original need that motivated the interaction get addressed? How effective were the strategies that were adopted to address the original issue? Others: Identify others that may be specific to particular projects. Others: Identify others that may be specific to particular projects.

13 RESEARCH QUESTION How can information and communication professionals bring about social change that transforms marginalized people’s lives and makes a difference in their experiences?

14 Key Social Justice Elements in LIS ElementIllustrative Study 1Illustrative Study 2Illustrative Study 3 PopulationUganda organizations Population in rural Pennsylvania with low library access & use levels Sexual minorities (LGBTQ individuals) in East Tennessee Information needHIV/AIDS infoBasic health information about diseases (cancer, diabetes) and local health services Information support services for individual, social, & legal/political representation Research methodology InterviewsSurvey research; Grounded theory methods (i.e., interviews) Participatory action research; Qualitative interviews; Community mobilization Achievement of outcomes (in progress) Catalog of information types Changes in levels of knowledge, attitudes, & behaviors regarding health & local health resources & services Changes in policies, information seeking opportunities, safety, provision of culturally relevant materials, health & support facilities, curriculum & planning, traditional library & information services AssessmentCorrelation between organization type & information that is disseminated On-going

15 Theoretical Principles Fairness and equity in social relationships: Do the projects reflect upon making various experiences more equitable for specific underserved individuals or populations? Fairness and equity in social relationships: Do the projects reflect upon making various experiences more equitable for specific underserved individuals or populations? Empowerment: How is the interaction changing the ways social conditions were before and after the interaction for different individuals involved in the project? How is their perception about their role in determining the course of their lives changed as a result of their project participation? Empowerment: How is the interaction changing the ways social conditions were before and after the interaction for different individuals involved in the project? How is their perception about their role in determining the course of their lives changed as a result of their project participation? Economic, political, social, cultural, and environmental impacts: How is the interaction changing the ways things are at these levels before and after the interaction? Economic, political, social, cultural, and environmental impacts: How is the interaction changing the ways things are at these levels before and after the interaction?

16 Theoretical Principles Community building and community development: Building equitable partnerships and collaborations within and across the academy with local, national and international communities to promote social equity and social justice for individual, social, and community empowerment of the disenfranchised. Community building and community development: Building equitable partnerships and collaborations within and across the academy with local, national and international communities to promote social equity and social justice for individual, social, and community empowerment of the disenfranchised. Diversity, multiplicity, and democracy: Varied and participative involvement in decision-making. Diversity, multiplicity, and democracy: Varied and participative involvement in decision-making. Everyday information needs: How does the project change how everyday information needs of the disenfranchised get met? Everyday information needs: How does the project change how everyday information needs of the disenfranchised get met? Community informatics: Exploring the role and the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to empower and enable local and global communities to meet their goals and aspirations. Community informatics: Exploring the role and the application of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to empower and enable local and global communities to meet their goals and aspirations.

17 Social Justice Principles in Illustraive Studies SJ Principles Illustrative Study 1 Illustrative Study 2 Illustrative Study 3 Fairness/equity in social relationships Serving those infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS Outreach to underserved populations in a rural environment Individual, social, legal/political representation for sexual minorities Empowerment: Individual Providing individuals with information to prevent or treat HIV/AIDS Informing individuals about health issues & local health resources and services Perception of social acceptance & availability of information support services Empowerment: Economic, political, social, cultural, & environmental impacts Goal: to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS Goal: to contribute in improving healthcare in the community Equitable policy development, formalized recognition/representatio n, improved information support services Community building: Within the academy Collaboration between government, NGOs, community-based & faith-based organizations Collaboration between researchers in IS, public health, nursing, pharmacy, etc. Partnerships between IS professionals & other progressive units; networking between (earlier isolated) LGBT faculty/student/staff

18 SJ PrinciplesIllustrative Study 1 Illustrative Study 2 Illustrative Study 3 Community building: Beyond the academy Organizational sharing of HIV/AIDS information Collaboration between citizens, healthcare providers, librarians, support groups, etc. Community LGBT & ally groups/individuals across the university/community Diversity, multiplicity, & democracy Coordination of organizations at all levels of public & private sector involved in HIV/AIDs information Determination of underserved users’ needs—Goal: expanding community participation & improving access to information Creating visibility & mobilization to propel change in support of LGBT people/issues via building ally networks & participative collaborations Everyday information needs HIV/AIDS informationBasic health information Needs related to individual respect, social equality, and adequate representation for sexual minorities Community informatics Dissemination of HIV/AIDS information using culturally appropriate technologies and formats (e.g., drama, radio) Public library system’s use of kiosks in non- library settings to deliver basic health information to a population that does not typically use library resources Development of web & campus/community information support services to tackle ignorance & provide effective information support services Social Justice Principles in Illustraive Studies

19 Current Research 1. Campus Climate and Community Action for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Community at the University of Tennessee (with Donna Braquet, Librarian, UT Hodges Library) 2. How can the University of Tennessee Improve its Information Support Services for African-American Students to Increase Enrollment, Retention, and Develop Minority Student Leadership? Case Perspectives of African-American Graduate Students (with Cheryl Ann Lambert, Ph. D. Student, UT School of Advertising and Public Relations) 3. Information Support Services for International Graduate Students at the University of Tennessee (with Dania Bilal, Associate Professor, SIS)

20 Campus Climate for the GLBTQ Community [INTRODUCTION] Let us begin with general introductions. This is completely optional. Please tell us only what you are comfortable sharing about yourself and/or your GLBTQ-related experiences at the University of Tennessee. [INTRODUCTION] Let us begin with general introductions. This is completely optional. Please tell us only what you are comfortable sharing about yourself and/or your GLBTQ-related experiences at the University of Tennessee. [CAMPUS CLIMATE COMFORT LEVEL] Overall, how comfortable are you with the campus climate at UTK for sexual minorities? [Prompt: Why are you so comfortable or not so comfortable?]. [CAMPUS CLIMATE COMFORT LEVEL] Overall, how comfortable are you with the campus climate at UTK for sexual minorities? [Prompt: Why are you so comfortable or not so comfortable?]. [UNIVERSITY POLICY PLAN: AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT] What are some areas of development in a university policy plan that you may want to propose to bring about institutional change of support for GLBTQ individuals on campus? [Prompt: Have you been affected by UTK policies or lack of policies?] [UNIVERSITY POLICY PLAN: AREAS OF DEVELOPMENT] What are some areas of development in a university policy plan that you may want to propose to bring about institutional change of support for GLBTQ individuals on campus? [Prompt: Have you been affected by UTK policies or lack of policies?] [PERSONAL SAFETY]: How can the university become safer for GLBTQ individuals? [Prompts: What is your perception of safety on campus? Describe any incidents that you are aware of where personal safety of a GLBTQ individual was challenged? How can there be improvements in the following: Response to assaults? Training of officers? Information reporting and information awareness of campus hate crimes?]. [PERSONAL SAFETY]: How can the university become safer for GLBTQ individuals? [Prompts: What is your perception of safety on campus? Describe any incidents that you are aware of where personal safety of a GLBTQ individual was challenged? How can there be improvements in the following: Response to assaults? Training of officers? Information reporting and information awareness of campus hate crimes?].

21 Campus Climate for the GLBTQ Community [HEALTH AND SUPPORT SERVICES]: How can the university improve its health and support services for GLBTQ individuals on campus? [Prompts: How can the university improve its health and support services in areas of: counseling, health information dissemination, student/staff organizations, and safe space programs]. [HEALTH AND SUPPORT SERVICES]: How can the university improve its health and support services for GLBTQ individuals on campus? [Prompts: How can the university improve its health and support services in areas of: counseling, health information dissemination, student/staff organizations, and safe space programs]. [CURRICULUM AND PLANNING]: How can the university improve its curriculum and programming for support of GLBTQ individuals? [Prompts: integration throughout the curriculum; focused specialization courses; campus sponsored programs; and support of research initiatives]. [CURRICULUM AND PLANNING]: How can the university improve its curriculum and programming for support of GLBTQ individuals? [Prompts: integration throughout the curriculum; focused specialization courses; campus sponsored programs; and support of research initiatives]. [POLICY AND INSTITUTIONAL COMMITMENT]: How can the university improve its institutional commitment to promote a positive experience for GLBTQ individuals on campus? [Prompts: discrimination; coverage of harassment at new student/employee orientation; equal benefits: health and housing; and campus initiatives such as advisory council and task force]. [POLICY AND INSTITUTIONAL COMMITMENT]: How can the university improve its institutional commitment to promote a positive experience for GLBTQ individuals on campus? [Prompts: discrimination; coverage of harassment at new student/employee orientation; equal benefits: health and housing; and campus initiatives such as advisory council and task force].

22 Campus Climate for the GLBTQ Community [IMPROVEMENTS] Is there anything else that would make life for GLBTQ individuals at UT better? What can the university do to make life at UT a more positive experience for GLBTQ individuals? [IMPROVEMENTS] Is there anything else that would make life for GLBTQ individuals at UT better? What can the university do to make life at UT a more positive experience for GLBTQ individuals? [INFORMATION SEEKING DURING THE COMING OUT PROCESS] Think back to when you came out or perhaps a friend’s experiences of coming out. Within a few years, can you state the year when you/your friend began the coming out process? [INFORMATION SEEKING DURING THE COMING OUT PROCESS] Think back to when you came out or perhaps a friend’s experiences of coming out. Within a few years, can you state the year when you/your friend began the coming out process? During the stage when you were starting to recognize that you may not be heterosexual… During the stage when you were starting to recognize that you may not be heterosexual… What types of information did you seek? What types of information did you seek? Where did you seek this information? (Internet, bookstore, friends, library, support group, etc.) Where did you seek this information? (Internet, bookstore, friends, library, support group, etc.) What type of information was most helpful? What type of information was most helpful? What type of information would have been helpful? What type of information would have been helpful?

23 Campus Climate for the GLBTQ Community When you first started coming out to other queers/starting friendships with other queers… How did you find other queers? What type of information did you seek? Where did you seek it? What would have been helpful during this time? When you were preparing to come out to close friends and family… After coming out… How could libraries/librarians help during the coming out process?

24 Campus Climate for the GLBTQ Community [LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SERVICES]: Awareness of Library Resources Awareness of Library Resources How aware are you of the UT Library’s GLBTQ related resources (books, films, journals, magazines)? How aware are you of the UT Library’s GLBTQ related resources (books, films, journals, magazines)? Resource Use Resource Use How important do you think having access to GLBTQ related library resources is? How important do you think having access to GLBTQ related library resources is? Have there been any instances where you have needed or used GLBTQ library resources? (personal use, class use?) Have there been any instances where you have needed or used GLBTQ library resources? (personal use, class use?) How easy or difficult are they to find? What types of resources did you use? How easy or difficult are they to find? What types of resources did you use? Evaluation of Library Resources Evaluation of Library Resources How would you evaluate the Library’s GLBTQ related resources? How would you evaluate the Library’s GLBTQ related resources? In which GLBTQ related areas do you think the Library is most lacking, most adequate? In which GLBTQ related areas do you think the Library is most lacking, most adequate? How can the Library improve awareness and use of GLBT resources? How can the Library improve awareness and use of GLBT resources?

25 Campus Climate for the GLBTQ Community Awareness of Library Reference Service Awareness of Library Reference Service How aware are you of the Library staff’s ability to help with finding information on GLBTQ related topics? How aware are you of the Library staff’s ability to help with finding information on GLBTQ related topics? Reference Use Reference Use Do you think the ability to ask GLBTQ related questions at the Library is important? Have there been any instances when you asked a GLBTQ related question? Do you think the ability to ask GLBTQ related questions at the Library is important? Have there been any instances when you asked a GLBTQ related question? Evaluation of Library Reference Service Evaluation of Library Reference Service What has been your experience with asking GLBTQ related questions at the Library? What has been your experience with asking GLBTQ related questions at the Library? How comfortable or uncomfortable would you feel asking a GLBTQ- related question? If you haven’t asked a question, how do you think GLBTQ related questions would be handled by library staff? How comfortable or uncomfortable would you feel asking a GLBTQ- related question? If you haven’t asked a question, how do you think GLBTQ related questions would be handled by library staff? What would make you feel more comfortable? How would you feel most comfortable asking GLBTQ related questions (in person, by phone, via chat or )? What would make you feel more comfortable? How would you feel most comfortable asking GLBTQ related questions (in person, by phone, via chat or )? How can the UT Library improve services for GLBTQ individuals? What can the UT Libraries do to improve the standing of GLBTQ individuals on campus? How can the UT Library improve services for GLBTQ individuals? What can the UT Libraries do to improve the standing of GLBTQ individuals on campus?

26 Campus Climate for the GLBTQ Community Mehra, B., & Braquet, D. (2007). Information-Seeking Behaviors during “Queer” Youth Coming Out Experiences. In: M. K. Chelton & C. Cool (eds.), Youth Information Seeking Behaviors: Contexts, Theories, Models and Issues (pp ). Toronto, Canada: Scarecrow Press. Mehra, B., & Braquet, D. (2007). Information-Seeking Behaviors during “Queer” Youth Coming Out Experiences. In: M. K. Chelton & C. Cool (eds.), Youth Information Seeking Behaviors: Contexts, Theories, Models and Issues (pp ). Toronto, Canada: Scarecrow Press. Mehra, B., & Braquet, D. (2006). A “Queer” Manifesto of Interventions for Libraries to ‘Come Out’ of the Closet! A Study of “Queer” Youth Experiences during the Coming Out Process, Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal, Volume 16, Issue 1 (March 2006). Mehra, B., & Braquet, D. (2006). A “Queer” Manifesto of Interventions for Libraries to ‘Come Out’ of the Closet! A Study of “Queer” Youth Experiences during the Coming Out Process, Library and Information Science Research Electronic Journal, Volume 16, Issue 1 (March 2006). Braquet, D., & Mehra, B. (2006). Contextualizing Internet Use Practices of the Cyber-Queer: Empowering Information Realities in Everyday Life. Proceedings of the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology 2006: Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future For All. Volume 43. [poster/short paper]. Braquet, D., & Mehra, B. (2006). Contextualizing Internet Use Practices of the Cyber-Queer: Empowering Information Realities in Everyday Life. Proceedings of the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology 2006: Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future For All. Volume 43. [poster/short paper]. Mehra, B., & Braquet, D. (in press). Library and Information Science Professionals as Community Action Researchers in an Academic Setting: Top Ten Directions to Further Institutional Change for People of Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities, Library Trends. Mehra, B., & Braquet, D. (in press). Library and Information Science Professionals as Community Action Researchers in an Academic Setting: Top Ten Directions to Further Institutional Change for People of Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities, Library Trends. Mehra, B., Albright, K. S., & Rioux, K. (2006). A Practical Framework for Social Justice Research in the Information Professions. Proceedings of the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology 2006: Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future For All. Volume 43. [poster/short paper]. (secondary focus). Mehra, B., Albright, K. S., & Rioux, K. (2006). A Practical Framework for Social Justice Research in the Information Professions. Proceedings of the 69th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Information Science & Technology 2006: Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future For All. Volume 43. [poster/short paper]. (secondary focus). Mehra, B., & Srinivasan, R. (under review). The Library-Community Convergence Framework for Community Action: A New Role of the Library as a Catalyst of Social Change, Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services. (secondary focus). Mehra, B., & Srinivasan, R. (under review). The Library-Community Convergence Framework for Community Action: A New Role of the Library as a Catalyst of Social Change, Libri: International Journal of Libraries and Information Services. (secondary focus).

27 Community Action Research Agenda Findings from qualitative studies and action research include: Findings from qualitative studies and action research include: Typical barriers/challenges faced by local LGBTQ individuals towards self-fulfillment and social empowerment Typical barriers/challenges faced by local LGBTQ individuals towards self-fulfillment and social empowerment Top ten prioritized community actions of “what we need to do” and “how do we do it” for furthering acceptance of LGBTQ people Top ten prioritized community actions of “what we need to do” and “how do we do it” for furthering acceptance of LGBTQ people Current directions of progress made in the UTK academic environment over a period of 2 years Current directions of progress made in the UTK academic environment over a period of 2 years

28 What efforts can be made to promote progressive institutional changes on behalf of LGBTQ people?

29 Top Ten Actions for Institutional Change No.Barriers/Challenges“What We Need To Do” 1.Social isolation and lack of awareness of LGBTQ people Use social and digital technologies to build connections between LGBTQ people 2.No formalized support and institutional protection Gain institutional commitment for legal and political/social protection 3.Lack of political representation Active participation in political lobbying and building political support networks 4.Conservative climate breeds hatred and contempt Develop “safe space” programs and sensitivity training in various areas

30 Top Ten Actions for Institutional Change No.Barriers/Challenges“What We Need To Do” 5.Cloak of invisibility surrounding LGBTQ concerns and negative stereotyping Create visibility and awareness of LGBT issues via active programming, hosting of events, and activity planning 6.Inadequate information support services and no awareness of existing resources Develop accurate and fair LGBTQ information resources and collections and promote visibility by proactive advertising 7.Lack of coverage of LGBT materials in courses and curriculum Create specialized courses that specifically focus on LGBTQ materials and cover LGBTQ issues in all relevant courses

31 Top Ten Actions for Institutional Change No.Barriers/Challenges“What We Need To Do” 8.Lack of provision of adequate and fair services to LGBTQ needs Create formalized channels of communication and information flow between LGBTQ individuals and the administration 9.Perceived negative backlash or repercussions in academic setting Take actions against discrimination to project signals that any sort of prejudice will not be tolerated 10.Isolated disconnected efforts in LGBT advocacy Coordinate between isolated LGBT advocacy efforts

32 What are the specific actions we are taking as LIS community action researchers in the University of Tennessee?

33 Using social/digital technologies to build connections between LGBTQ and allies Informal/formal networking has helped us develop contacts, communicate, and collaborate with allies and support agencies. These include: Informal/formal networking has helped us develop contacts, communicate, and collaborate with allies and support agencies. These include: UT LGBT faculty, staff, and students; members of local LGBT community-based groups and social justice agencies; and members of the UT’s Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) and Diversity Council UT LGBT faculty, staff, and students; members of local LGBT community-based groups and social justice agencies; and members of the UT’s Office of Equity and Diversity (OED) and Diversity Council We created a listserv “LGBTANet” in August 2005 that has helped in information sharing, communication exchange, and building institutional memory for LGBTQ individuals and allies (URL: We created a listserv “LGBTANet” in August 2005 that has helped in information sharing, communication exchange, and building institutional memory for LGBTQ individuals and allies (URL:

34 Seeking institutional commitment for legal, political, and social protection Chancellor Crabtree’s encouraging response during our first meeting in December 2005 and his confirmation (received on December 8, 2005) that UT President John Petersen had authorized the inclusion of sexual orientation in a welcoming statement attached to the UT non- discrimination policy Chancellor Crabtree’s encouraging response during our first meeting in December 2005 and his confirmation (received on December 8, 2005) that UT President John Petersen had authorized the inclusion of sexual orientation in a welcoming statement attached to the UT non- discrimination policy Our involvement in procedural steps following administrative protocols: Our involvement in procedural steps following administrative protocols: Reaching a consensus amongst local LGBTQ members/allies in identifying a new name “Commission for LGBT” representative of current national trends Reaching a consensus amongst local LGBTQ members/allies in identifying a new name “Commission for LGBT” representative of current national trends Developing initial Bylaws of the Commission for LGBT People in consultation with members of the UT’s Diversity Council Developing initial Bylaws of the Commission for LGBT People in consultation with members of the UT’s Diversity Council Creating a volunteer list of 16 UT LGBT people who were willing to serve on the board of the future Commission for LGBT People Creating a volunteer list of 16 UT LGBT people who were willing to serve on the board of the future Commission for LGBT People Participating in the first organizational meeting of the Commission on 12 December 2006, and meeting with the Chancellor on 9 January 2007 Participating in the first organizational meeting of the Commission on 12 December 2006, and meeting with the Chancellor on 9 January 2007

35 We collaborated with LGBTQ allies in preparing pro- LGBTQ resolution statements and refining vocabulary constructs representing sexual minorities in a city ordinance non-discrimination clause that were presented and discussed during focus group and individual meetings in fall 2005 with local Councilmen Bob Becker and Chris Woodhull Participating in political lobbying and building political support networks

36 Developing “safe space” programs and sensitivity training In OED’s Diversity Experience Workshop (DEW) Advisory Group, we have partnered with faculty/staff/students across campus to identify appropriate content on LGBTQ needs In OED’s Diversity Experience Workshop (DEW) Advisory Group, we have partnered with faculty/staff/students across campus to identify appropriate content on LGBTQ needs We developed information for the workshops that focus on LGBTQ as “special populations” as well as represent LGBTQ issues in general workshops on diversity We developed information for the workshops that focus on LGBTQ as “special populations” as well as represent LGBTQ issues in general workshops on diversity Workshop components are being delivered during various events on campus (new student/faculty orientations, forums in fraternities/sororities, and departmental diversity evaluation sessions) Workshop components are being delivered during various events on campus (new student/faculty orientations, forums in fraternities/sororities, and departmental diversity evaluation sessions)

37 Creating awareness of LGBTQ issues via active programming and hosting of events We planned and participated in a workshop (18 April, 2006) sponsored by the community-based GLBTQ Task Force Against Domestic Violence on educational training for service providers in public agencies such as the police force, health services, counseling centers, and social work agencies to provide effective services to meet the needs of LGBTQ people

38 Developing accurate and fair LGBTQ information resources The Diversity News Channel The Diversity News Channel (http://www.lib.utk.edu/news/diversity/archives/glbt/), hosted on the UTK library server, presents current information about LGBTQ happenings and programs The UTK library’s Cultural Corner (offline and online) (http://www.lib.utk.edu/diversity/culturecorner/springlist- 06.html) is an effort to demarcate a visible physical and virtual space on LBGTQ issues of contemporary relevance The UTK library’s Cultural Corner (offline and online) (http://www.lib.utk.edu/diversity/culturecorner/springlist- 06.html) is an effort to demarcate a visible physical and virtual space on LBGTQ issues of contemporary relevancehttp://www.lib.utk.edu/diversity/culturecorner/springlist- 06.htmlhttp://www.lib.utk.edu/diversity/culturecorner/springlist- 06.html The recent compilation of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Guide (http://www.lib.utk.edu/refs/glbt.html#local) provides The recent compilation of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Guide (http://www.lib.utk.edu/refs/glbt.html#local) provideshttp://www.lib.utk.edu/refs/glbt.html#local online access to local LGBTQ resources and services

39 Teaching IS 592 titled “Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Information Professions” during spring 2005 provided me opportunities for understanding the campus climate on issues related to sexual orientation from a deeper perspective During the 2007 spring semester, students in the course are partnering with the East Tennessee LGBT Youth Project to assess and evaluate child welfare and juvenile justice programs, library and social support service providers, and secondary school systems based on discussions with LGBT youth Creating specialized courses that specifically focus on LGBTQ materials

40 Thank you for your attention. Questions and Comments? Questions and Comments? Team activity: Your application of the social justice framework to a topic/project of your choice Team activity: Your application of the social justice framework to a topic/project of your choice


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