Complicating the Binary: Towards a Discussion of Campus Climate Health

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Maria C. Ledesma


In this conceptual paper, I embark on answering the question “is there a more nuanced way of helping postsecondary leaders, practitioners, and policy makers understand the gravity of addressing and confronting issues of campus climate?” In response, I propose that it may prove useful when framing issues of campus climate to complicate binary descriptions of climate as “chilly/welcoming” and “positive/negative,” and instead embrace the analogy of health. While the adoption of a metaphor of healthy campus climate is not novel per se, it remains under-theorized. As such, this paper aims to contribute to the conversation around diversity and campus climate by suggesting that a health metaphor applied to the study of campus climate is apropos and helps humanize the experiences of historically minoritized bodies in higher education.

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