Queering Your Teaching & Advising
Dr. Susan Hillock, Trent University
Dr. Susan Hillock (BA, BSW, MEd, PhD) is an associate professor of Social Work at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario and a faculty member of Trent’s Graduate Studies and Masters' of Education program. Her education, research, and direct service methods stem from, and build upon, experiential, liberation, and anti-oppressive theories including feminist, anti-racist, and critical theory, structural social work, queer theory, and Marxism. She was recently awarded the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association (OCUFA)’s Status of Women and Equity Award of Distinction for outstanding contributions of members whose work has contributed meaningfully to the advancement of professors, academic librarians, and/or academic staff who are Indigenous, women, racialized, LGBTQ2S+, living with disabilities, and/or belong to other historically marginalized groups. Dr. Hillock's books are the first of their kind in North America. Recent titles include Queering Social Work Education (UBC Press, 2016) and Teaching Social Work: Pedagogy & Practice (UoT Press, In Press). Queer SWRk Education copy.tiff
About this LSAC eKeynote:
Why is it important to "Queer Your Teaching and Advising"? Despite several advances in terms of human rights for queer people over the last 50 years, homo-, bi-, and trans-phobia persist and discrimination, oppression, and violence towards the queer population continue. According to Taylor et al’s (2011) national school study, a high percentage of students, who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered (or are perceived to be), experience verbal and physical harassment and/or are assaulted on a daily or weekly basis due to gender expression and sexual orientation. Furthermore, two thirds of these students reported feeling unsafe in schools, citing bathrooms and change rooms as the most dangerous places (Ibid). The results of this harassment are that queers experience higher rates of, “…mental illness, severe depression, anxiety, paranoia, and extreme loneliness” (Khayatt, 2005, p.345). They also face discrimination in education, healthcare, housing, policing, social services, and employment. Furthermore, “…suicide is still the leading cause of death among queer youth” (Knegt, 2011, p.73). As well, homophobic hate crimes are on the rise and, “…nearly 75% go unreported” (p. 90). One might assume that “it gets better” for young people as they enter into postsecondary and graduate education. However, in Rankin’s (2005) university study, most faculty, students, administrators, and staff felt campus climates towards queer students were homophobic. There also exist specific gaps in instructor/advisor training, education, and research in this area, minimal research about or involving sex positive and queer communities and issues, as well as, little queer content in Canadian textbooks (Hillock, 2016a & b). Given the harm described above, it is essential that educators/ advisors find ways to assist students (and colleagues/administrators) to challenge and transform these traditional and harmful beliefs. In this presentation, Dr. Hillock will briefly describe the history of queer oppression and activism in Canada, explore the importance of language (i.e. the pronoun debate), summarize important queer theory concepts, and identify key areas that advisors/educators may want to address in terms of queering their teaching/advising. She will also make recommendations about how educators/advisors can queer their work and workplaces.
Hillock, S. (2016). Social work, the academy, and queer communities: Heteronormativity and exclusion. In S. Hillock & N.J. Mulé. (Eds.). Queering Social Work Education. Vancouver: UBC Press, 17-35.
Hillock, S. (2016). From absence to presence: Queers positioning themselves in social work. In S. Hillock & N.J. Mulé. (Eds.). Queering Social Work Education. Vancouver: UBC Press, 17-35.
Khayatt, D. (2005). Lesbian teachers: An invisible presence, In Nikolai Endres, Queering our classrooms. Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, language, Composition, and Culture. 5(1), 131- 139. U.S.: Duke University Press.
Knegt, P. (2011). About Canada: Queer Rights. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
Rankin, S. R. (2005). Campus climates for sexual minorities. New Directions For Student Services, 111,17- 23. 2
Taylor, C. & Peter, T., with McMinn, T.L., Elliott, T., Beldom, S., Ferry, A., Gross, Z., Paquin, S., & Schachter, K. (2011). Every class in every school: Final report on the first national climate survey on homophobia, biphobia, & transphobia in Canadian schools. Toronto: EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust.