Despite recent advances in equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) individuals in the United States, students and faculty on college campuses still experience harassment, exclusionary behavior and discrimination. Initiatives such as Safe Zone campus ally training are effecting a gradual positive change in climate for LGBTQ+ individuals, but progress in STEM departments has been slower than in other disciplines. This transformative project links diversity research with a faculty development initiative to promote LGBTQ+ equality in STEM.
Safe Zone workshops will create a network of engineering faculty with the awareness, knowledge and skills to create a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ+ faculty and students. To maximize the visibility and impact of the Safe Zone workshops, they will be offered both online and at engineering professional society conferences. An action-oriented Virtual Community of Practice will offer a mechanism for faculty to share knowledge, ideas, and resources and to support one another as they develop and implement action plans to promote LGBTQ+ equality in their engineering departments and colleges.