Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Michael Mills, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Thomas Miller, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Donald Dellow, Ed.D.

Committee Member

James King, Ed.D.


Education, Environment, Queer, Questioning, GIQ


The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of campus climate at the University of South Florida, Tampa Campus for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender students. Specifically, the study determined if there was any relationship between level of homosexual identity development acquired and perceptions of campus climate. If a relationship existed, it would influence the way that campus climate perceptions would be analyzed in future studies.

The population was the undergraduate student body at the University of South Florida taking at least six credit hours in the fall semester 2007. An online survey was created with two instruments that have been validated in previous studies, one on campus climate and one that identified identity level. The campus instrument was completed by all respondents, while only those self identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning were directed to the identity level instrument.

Of the 31,030 email solicitations sent out to eligible students, 2345 students responded and completed the survey. Of those, 228 were from gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning students. Research questions sought to reveal the campus climate perceptions of GLBTQ students; to determine if perceptions varied between gay, lesbian, bisexual, questioning, and heterosexual students; and to determine if there was a relationship between homosexual identity development and perceptions of campus climate.

Conclusions of the study include perceptions of campus climate at USF are more positive than those reported in the results of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Study conducted by Rankin (2003). Additionally, administrative responses to GLBT issues are not visible to students. The research also noted that significant differences exist between the perceptions of campus climate for GLBTQ students between the heterosexual and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and questioning students. Finally, the level of homosexual identity development attained has a significant relationship with perceptions of campus climate

The results of this study will impact the focus and delivery of student services, training, and diversity initiatives at the university. Future opportunities for advancing the knowledge of the subject matter include further development of the GIQ identity development instrument, and expanding the question of identity development and campus climate perceptions to a nationwide study.