Graduation Year

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Kathleen King, Ed.D

Committee Member

Donald Dellow, Ed.D

Committee Member

Tom Miller, Ed.D

Committee Member

William Young, Ed.D

Keywords

college experience, higher education, sexual orientation

Abstract

This quantitative research study examined the college experiences of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students at the University of South Florida, Tampa campus. Students were surveyed, via the web, using select questions from the College Student Experiences Questionnaire during the Fall 2014 semester. The data were analyzed using appropriate statistical methods and the results reported for each scale and question. Recommendations for practice and areas for future research were identified.

There are four research questions that guide this study:

• Question 1: What are the collegiate experiences of gay men, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students as measured using aspects of the College Student Experiences Questionnaire?

• Question 2: How do the campus experiences of gay men and bisexual male students differ from lesbian and bisexual female students?

• Question 3: How do the campus experiences of gay men and lesbian students differ from bisexual students?

• Question 4: How do the campus experiences of gay men, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) students differ from non-GLBT students?

The sample was composed of undergraduate and graduate students from a variety of ethnic and racial backgrounds at the University of South Florida, Tampa campus. The sample was primarily composed of Caucasian individuals (66%) under the age of 29 (82%). There was a sizable number of individuals who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual or other (N = 268). Most of the students were female and there were only a few individuals who identified as being transgender (N =10). Approximately seventy percent of those in the sample were undergraduate students. There were only a few notable differences between those who identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, other, or transgender and those who identified as heterosexual/straight for their sexual orientation.

A review of the demographics revealed only a few differences between the groups. Those differences included:

• Those who identified their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other or their gender as transgender were more likely to live in campus housing than those who identified their sexual orientation as heterosexual/straight.

• Those who identified their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other or their gender as transgender were more likely to be enrolled in fewer course hours than those who identified their sexual orientation as heterosexual/straight.

• Those who identified their sexual orientation as lesbian, gay, bisexual or other, or their gender as transgender, were more likely to use loans to pay for college and less likely to have parental support in meeting those same expenses than those who identified their sexual orientation as heterosexual/straight.

Analysis of the first research question, “What are the collegiate experiences of gay men, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students as measured using aspects of the College Student Experiences Questionnaire?” was conducted with descriptive statistics for each of the CSEQ questions. A review of the individual research questions, with their respective means and frequencies, revealed a few key findings:

• Students do not often develop a role-play of case study for class, with this question receiving the lowest mean in the Quality of Effort Course Learning scale.

• Higher level learning items, summarizing, explaining, and seeing how ideas fit together, within the Quality of Effort Course Learning scale all received high mean scores.

• Students are not very likely to engage with faculty outside of class time, as revealed in analysis of items with the Quality of Effort: Experiences with Faculty scale.

• Within the Quality of Effort: Campus Facilities scale students reported the highest frequency for meeting another student on campus for a discussion. All other items in the scale showed a lower frequency level.

• The Quality of Effort: Clubs and Organizations scale reinforced that students are not likely to engage a faculty member outside of class, with the question about meeting a faculty member or advisor receiving the lowest mean score in the scale.

• Students were more likely to become acquainted with a variety of students, rather than have a serious discussion with a variety of students, as revealed in a review of the questions in the Quality of Effort: Student Acquaintances scale.

• Students reported more frequently discussing social issues than discussing the views of writers, philosophers and historians, as revealed in a review of the questions in the Quality of Effort: Topics of Conversation scale.

• Within the College Environment: Scholarly and Intellectual scale, students thought that the greatest emphasis was placed on developing academic, scholarly and intellectual qualities.

• Within the College Environment: Vocational and practical scale, students thought that the greatest emphasis was placed on developing an understanding and appreciation of human diversity.

• Students reported, with the College Environment: Personal Relationships scale, having the best relationships with other students, followed by faculty, and then administrative personnel.

For Question Two, “How do the campus experiences of gay men and bisexual male students differ from lesbian and bisexual female students?”, Question Three, “How do the campus experiences of gay men and lesbian students differ from bisexual students?” and Question Four, “How do the campus experiences of gay men, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) students differ from non-GLBT students?” a 2 (male, female) x 3 (gay/lesbian, bisexual, straight/heterosexual) factorial between subjects ANOVA was performed, along with post hoc analysis. If an ANOVA was not able to be performed because of unequal variances, a one-way ANOVA was performed for differences between the three sexual orientations, answering questions thee and four. Overall, results showed that students do not differ greatly based on gender or sexual orientation. However, there were a few statistically significant differences.

On the Quality of Effort: Campus Facilities scale, a significant interaction effect between gender and sexual orientation (F(2,1189) = 3.55, p = .02) was found in performing the ANOVA. Post hoc pairwise testing revealed that female gay/lesbian had a significantly (p = .03) higher mean (M = 2.069, SD = .416) than male gay/lesbian (M = 1.78, SD = .50), making them more likely to utilize campus facilities on a more frequent basis. Additionally, male heterosexual/straight had a significantly (p = .03) higher mean (M = 1.92, SD = .57) than female heterosexual/straight (M = 1.84, SD = .55), making them more likely to utilize campus facilities on a more frequent basis.

On the Quality of Effort: Topics of Conversation scale, a significant difference between gay/lesbian, bisexual, and heterosexual/straight was found (F(2,1225) = 7.86, p = < .001) when performing a factorial ANOVA. Post hoc pairwise testing revealed a significant difference (p = .02) between those who identified as gay/lesbian and those who identified as heterosexual or straight. Additionally, there a significant difference (p = .006) between those who identified as bisexual and those who identified as heterosexual or straight. Those who identified as gay/lesbian (M = 2.61, SD = .59) as well as bisexual (M = 2.60, SD = .64) indicated a greater frequency of participating in a variety of conversation, when compared to those who identified as heterosexual or straight (M = 2.39, SD = .66).

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