"Counted and seen": complicating the governance of (a)gender(s) by university registrar practices

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
University of Alabama Libraries

Trans students are more visible on college campuses, coming to postsecondary institutions already out in their (a)gender(s), and they have additional needs than their cisgender peers in regards to student record inclusion (Beemyn et al. 2005a; Brauer, 2017; James et al., 2016; Nicolazzo, 2016c). Overall, institutional change in relation to trans inclusivity, has been slow to transpire in university registrar practices. The university registrar often facilitates the relationship between students and the institution, interprets and implements university policy, and governs the management of student record data (Walters & Hightower, 2016; Wells, 2015). Therefore, the university registrar is in a unique position to advance trans inclusivity through advocating for trans inclusive student record practices (i.e. allowing for chosen name field in the student record, pronouns on class rosters and front facing screens, changing a gender marker without medical intervention, etc.) (Beemyn & Brauer, 2015). However, as student information system vendors and the American Association for Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) address the issue of trans inclusive records there are still issues with their approaches being grounded in closed logic systems. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the tensions between trans students’ perceptions of their (a)gender(s) and the manner in which their (a)gender(s) are governed through university registrar practices. Using Foucault’s (1991a; 1991b; 1991c; 1997) concepts of governmentality, the self , and subjectivities as the theoretical framework, I explored these tensions. Through using a Foucauldian approach to narrative inquiry, the data were analyzed in developing trans students’ counternarratives. The narratives highlighted the complex issues surrounding the management of (a)gender(s) in the student record and the need for student record systems and university registrar practices to be (re)imagined.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Higher education administration, LGBTQ studies, Higher education