Until I started looking for jobs, it never occurred to me how many schools are affiliated with churches. It's both stunning and unnerving. I've had trouble trying to figure how much the sexual orientation of the faculty would matter in the job process. Some of my peers have told me, "Just don't apply at those places." Well, its a tough job market. I can't afford to not apply at anything I'm not qualified for. Some have told me to look at the EEOC or diversity policies. I've had trouble finding those policies on some school websites, and in one case, the diversity policy mentioned sexual orientation but information on other parts of the website suggested this was not a place where a sexual minority faculty member would be comfortable. I don't know what can be done about this, given that it is legal to discriminate against sexual minorities in most of the country (and where those laws exist, they might not apply to "religious" schools). I wish there was a way of easily identifying hostile schools so I didn't waste hours and hours of my time trying to identify intolerant institutions and applying for jobs I won't get.
Date: 24 Dec 2012 01:44
Number of posts: 22
RSS: New posts
Oy. I wonder if you could put in an anonymous call to HR to feel things out? Sorry that you are having to deal with (or even think about) this.
The Princeton Review puts out this list. Obviously it's not all inclusive, and it's aimed primarily at students. It likely tells about campus climate though.
The Princeton Review’s top 20 LGBT-friendly and LGBT-unfriendly
1. Emerson College
2. University of Wisconsin
3. Stanford University
4. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering
5. New York University
6. New College of Florida
7. Bennington College
8. Warren Wilson College
9. College of the Atlantic
10. Wellesley College
11. Smith College
12. Whitman College
13. Macalester College
14. Bryn Mawr College
15. Brandeis University
16. Sarah Lawrence College
17. Pitzer College
18. Prescott College
19. Grinnell College
20. Oberlin College
1. Grove City College
2. Hampden-Sydney College
3. College of the Ozarks
4. Wheaton College
5. University of Notre Dame
6. Catholic University of America
7. Texas A&M University
8. Wake Forest University
9. University of Rhode Island
10. Baylor University
11. Calvin College
12. Brigham Young University
13. Boston College
14. Thomas Aquinas College
15. University of Dallas
16. University of Tennessee
17. Indiana University of Pennsylvania
18. Hillsdale College
19. Pepperdine University
20. University of Wyoming
I agree with Curious Cat that information on the undergraduate/student body is likely useful in informing you about campus climate. You might also think about looking up whether the institutions have active (and school-affiliated) LGBTQ alliances or mention LGBTQ support in their information on student counseling or advising. I checked into this myself at a few church-affiliated schools and saw plenty of very active pro-gay student groups/support at church-affiliated schools. I wouldn't rule a place out automatically just because they have a church affiliation. Good luck!!
I am surprised this is even an issue. Universities are extremely liberal for the most part-even the ones that are religiously affiliated. Many religious Universities don't even promote the specific religious values which they were founded to promote. In fact, I would be more concerned about your job prospects if you said you were a straight conservative individual looking for a faculty position where people would be tolerant of your political stance. Seriously, this should not be an issue at all. Just avoid the list that curious-cat provided and you should be fine for 95% of all other academic positions. Heck, they are going to love you because you "diversify" the faculty and make the University seem more inclusive.
I wouldnt be too concerned if I were you.
I wish it were that simple. It's true that colleges and universities tend to be more tolerant of differences than most places. It's also true that many places champion such diversity. However, the Princeton Review only identifies the top 20 and bottom 20 LGBT friendly institutions. There's about 2300 U.S. institutions that all fall somewhere in between.
I appreciate the responses. As Curious Cat noted, its not as simple as avoiding schools on the Princeton Review list. For example, I have a friend who works at a school that does not appear on that list and their psychology faculty cannot talk about sexual orientation issues at all. That is an institution where I would never get hired.
I did find a website, apparently run by anti-gay religious conservatives, that has a list of "pro-homosexual" religious schools. A couple of schools I was considering appeared on that list. Until institutions stop using their religion to discriminate against people, this is something that sexual minority applicants will have to deal with.
It is unfortunate that anyone gets discriminated against. I know of at least two R1 jobs at state schools I've lost in my career because of my conservative viewpoints. at one school i was, as best as I can describe it, verbally assaulted at a dinner with the search committee about my views.
I have no advice to offer notashrink other than hopefully discrimination doesn't exist this year in search committees and schools.
One of my friends is gay, married, does research on gay identity, and was hired by a catholic-affiliated university. Alot of times the official affiliation of the school does not reflect the opinions of the faculty who are doing the hiring, and psych faculty are generally socially liberal. The only thing to be wary of is super religious schools that might ask you to sign a statement that you conform to christian principles and values (e.g., Asuza Pacific University), but those aren't likely to be the schools you are considering.
Some advice from another gay psychology faculty member who finally got a position after many years on the market:
My approach was generally to apply to religious schools if everything else about the position seemed like a fit (including a gay friendly location), and then I waited until getting an interview to scope out the climate for gay people at the college itself.
This approach did lead to one interview that was largely a waste of time – at a Catholic college that was affiliated with the congregation of the Holy Cross. At this school I had to suffer through an interview with a dean / priest who made it clear that I couldn't teach anything inconsistent with church doctrine, including anything on homosexuality or abortion. He added that given my field, fortunately these were topics unlikely to come up in my classes. The position was in biological psychology. It was also implied during other parts of the interview that the previous holder of the position had been fired for cohabitating with an (opposite-gender) partner while abroad at a college/church owned facility. As soon as I heard that story, I knew I either would not be getting the position, or I wouldn't want it if I did.
Note that this is probably not what you would expect at most Catholic colleges. I am no expert on Catholic doctrine but I do have the impression that colleges affiliated with the congregation of the Holy Cross are likely to be a particularly problematic fit for gay faculty. On the other hand, I know someone who teaches at a Jesuit college and described the environment as extremely gay friendly. You need to know the details and get a sense of the religiosity and fundamentalism of the specific place.
One quick test is of course to find the non-discrimination statement of the college. If it does not include sexual orientation, that is a very bad sign.
As you are probably well aware, it's not easy to make it through an in-person interview for a faculty position without questions about partners, children, religion, politics, sexuality, etc. coming up, often indirectly, but sometimes in the form of direct questions. These were often among the first "small-talk" questions that I have been asked at interviews over the past several years: "are you married" "do you have children" "do you want children" "what kind of last name is that?" "are you Jewish?" "are you LGBT?" "do you consider yourself a liberal?" or "are you religious?" At a religious college these questions are not only possible; I would say they are likely. So for each school you need to make a decision about how forthcoming you want to be with this information at the interview stage.
I ended up getting a position at a college where being gay was at least neutral or possibly an advantage. It was a relief to be able to answer questions like the above honestly.