Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Feldner, Sarah B.

Second Advisor

Berg, Kati T.

Third Advisor

Wolburg, Joyce M.


The identity of a person has many different layers from sexual orientation to race, morals and values, to even gender. As times progress, many individuals are finding that their identities are not easily defined and that their gender cannot be categorized into the current boxes that society has. This forces many to struggle with discerning who they really are and where they fit into societal structures. As more people explain how one may not subscribe to all of the gender expectations of the one identity, some have decided to identify as non-binary. Non-binary means that a person does not identify as either male or female and may subscribe to different aspects of the different types of gender. By not identifying as a part of the two major gender identities, many non-binary individuals struggle to know where they fit in within organizational structures and cultures. This study looks more closely at how some institutions of higher education do not have systems and policies in place to support the experience of these individuals. When institutions do have specific inclusive or diversity policies, the policies tend to be not well known or clearly understood by various campus community members including students, faculty and staff alike. The purpose of this study is to gain insight into how faculty and staff understand and respond inclusive policies regarding non-binary identities. Through in-depth interviews that occurred through snowball sampling, the study examined inclusive policies and how those policies affected faculty and staff and their perceptions of the university and its culture.

Included in

Communication Commons