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Michael GodfreyMichael Godfrey has received a postdoctoral fellowship to explore improving equity, diversity, and inclusion within science.

Researcher to explore issues of LGBTQ+ students in science and tech

Michael Godfrey (BHK 2014) has secured the first-ever Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellowship in the UWindsor Faculty of Science with his application: “Campus climate and persistence of LGBTQ+ students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Dr. Godfrey says he was hopeful when he applied, but knew the awards are extremely competitive. He enjoyed an “extraordinary feeling” when he received the second-highest score in his disciplinary committee.

“This kind of fellowship really recognizes your capability as a scholar and the importance of your program of research at the federal level,” he says.

This is only the second SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship to be awarded to a UWindsor researcher. The fellowship supports the most promising Canadian new scholars by assisting them in establishing a research base at an important time in their careers. The $90,000 award will help Godfrey undertake his original research, publish findings, develop and expand research networks, and broaden his teaching experience.

The researcher conducted his first UWindsor project, “Exploring the academic climate for LGBTQ2S+ students in science,” in Fall 2020 and is currently analyzing the data from the in-depth interviews with students, staff, and faculty in which they discussed perceptions of the current academic climate in science.

The next phase of his work is a qualitative study in which he will go on guided walks with students from the science LGBTQ+ community.

“We’ve designed an innovative study in which we will go on separate walks and have conversations with five to 10 students as they carry out their everyday school activities, and document their experiences using audio recordings and photographs. It is our hope that this mobile methods approach will create a more comfortable environment for the students to share their stories,” says Godfrey.

“These moving stories are a unique opportunity to gain a really in-depth understanding of what the campus climate is like for students who belong to the LGBTQ+ community.”

An expanded national survey, comparing campus climates at universities across Canada, will follow and complete the study series.

Dean of Science Chris Houser says this is an extraordinary accomplishment, as only 20 per cent of applicants are successful.

“This stamp of approval from the federal government gives Godfrey and his research a legitimacy and weight that will help us successfully branch out our surveys to a national level, as well as affording us the opportunity to better share the results of our studies to a national audience,” says Dr. Houser.

The UWindsor Office of the Vice-President, Research and Innovation will also provide Godfrey $5,000 annually to fund conference attendance, creating webinars, and sharing his research.

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