Empowering leadership to support transgender students and staff within higher education

  • Mckendry, Stephanie (Principal Investigator)
  • Lawrence, Matson (Principal Investigator)

Project: Research

Project Details


There is increasing evidence that trans people face
significant challenges studying and working in higher
education (ECU, 2009; LGBT Youth Scotland, 2018; NUS,
2014; Stonewall, 2018a,b). Research undertaken at the
University of Strathclyde to explore the experiences and
challenges of this diverse group discovered a far greater
proportion of students considering or having left their
course, and issues around learning and teaching,
placements and confidentiality (Mckendry and Lawrence,
2017; Lawrence and Mckendry, forthcoming 2019). While
staff were often keen to support trans students, there was a
lack of awareness or training to provide background
context, a wider understanding of terminology or the
support requirements that might improve their student
experience. Similarly, trans and gender diverse staff
encountered barriers in relation to applying for roles and a
range of aspects of daily working life.

Building upon the University of Strathclyde research, this
project explored how to raise awareness effectively and
promote change and leadership. The project worked with
a sample of institutions to determine what materials would
be effective in increasing awareness of the transgender
population and building capacity and motivation to improve
support. Engagement also focused on developing
practical resources to enable positive change. The
TransEDU research team – Dr Stephanie Mckendry and
Dr Matson Lawrence – created and evaluated training
materials, policy templates, mapping documents and
multimedia resources that will inform university leaders
and practitioners about the lived experiences, support
needs and perspectives of trans students and staff.
The project developed the support website trans.ac.uk
as a free, open-access resource for those in higher
education supporting trans, non-binary and gender
diverse people. It includes training resources and
materials, case studies of best practice, animated
videos and guidance.
Effective start/end date1/10/171/02/18


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