Profile photo of Robin Keel
Robin Keel
A Whole New World: Issues of Gender Diversity in Higher Ed
Vice President of the Tullahoma PFLAG Board of Directors; Human Resources Officer, Motlow State Community College

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Rob has lived, worked, and studied in Florida, California, and Tennessee. He has earned degrees from Pensacola State College, Motlow State Community College, and Tennessee Technological University where he majored in special education. Prior to his latest return to Tennessee, where he works in human resources at Motlow State Community College, he worked as a Director of Rehabilitation for a drug and alcohol facility in California. Rob is  dedicated to seeking ways to improve the quality of life for diverse students, and he has been the featured speaker for a variety of organizations including Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society and the Tennessee Anti-Racist Network. His creative writing, “Lessons of a Middle-Aged Scholar” was published in the Tennessee Mosaic Literary Magazine. Rob also co-presented with Dr. Scott Cook (current Provost for Madisonville Community College) at the National Collegiate Honors Council (NCHC) Conference in 2015 on “Fringe Topics as a Catalyst for Honors Scholars” in the faculty posters session. He recently appeared in a two-episode interview on The Gaytheist Manifesto podcast with host Callie Wright.


A Whole New World - Issues of Gender Diversity in Academia


This presentation explores the roles and struggles surrounding gender as it relates to academia. Each of us can be gatekeepers or intentional change agents on the path to inclusive excellence. Let’s take a moment and reflect upon our personal alignment with privilege and disadvantage. How do we perpetuate cycles of socialization? How can we support cycles of liberation? The way we intentionally evolve our language and model inclusive practices represents our individual and institutional cultural branding. The centennial generation presents a new opportunity for higher education to level-up their inclusive excellence efforts. Being different once meant a higher likelihood of isolation and stigmatization. Community is no longer limited by geographic location. This generation’s access to technology and community means we are seeing a more diverse pool of potential students in the realms of gender identity and gender expression. How can we, as change agents in academia, become better advocates, allies, and accomplices to our fellow humans of all genders?