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Gender Diversity Certificate Program

A 9 month online program preparing individuals to better support trans-spectrum children, youth, and adults, and educate those within the PK-12 education system and other youth serving organizations.


View Application Information  

Gender Diversity in Children and Youth: History, Science, Society, and the Implementation of Inclusive and Affirming Policy and Practice

This certificate provides comprehensive graduate continuing education coursework specific to understanding the scope of gender diversity, the intersectional challenges faced, and the need for educators and other professionals working in the youth-serving roles to be both allies and advocates for the elimination of arbitrary and destructive gender role stereotypes.

The first of its kind in the country, this program will prepare participants to actively engage with the challenges they face in classrooms, school boards, and communities regarding curriculum review/development, policies and practice, and social justice advocacy related to gender diversity in children and youth. Participants will gain an increased awareness and understanding of how natural human gender diversity impacts their lives, and the lives of those around them, and be better prepared to act as an agent of change.

This certificate program is beneficial for: School teachers, administrators, counselors, and board members; PK-12 support service providers, nonprofit employees, attorneys, early-childhood providers, state and county professionals. Participants do not need to be enrolled at Lewis & Clark Graduate School.

Questions? Contact transactive@lclark.edu

Certificate Program Overview

Cost and Credits: 8 graduate-level continuing education credit hours, $2,800
Program length: 9 months, October 19-July 8, online format 
Program directors: Jenn Burleton and Cari Zall

Course Descriptions, Dates and Details:

Fall 2022: October 19-November 19

Online: Wednesdays, October 19, 26, November 2, 9, 16, 4-7 p.m.; and Saturdays, October 22, 29, November 5, 12, 19, 9 a.m.-noon

Course Description: It wasn’t until the very end of the 19th century that the building blocks of biology (chromosomes) were discovered, followed by identification of hormones in the 1920’s and the structure of DNA in the 1950’s.

This course will examine how patriarchal early socio-cultural interpretation of sex and gender roles were established and then institutionalized by both Abrahamic religious text dating back more than three millenia, the teachings of Aristotle and the Peripatetic school of philosophical thought and early Roman Catholic doctrinal modification of the ‘Sins of Sodom’. The subsequent enforcement of these patriarchal structures during European colonization of the Americas decimated pre-Columbian Two-Spirit populations and forms the foundation of gender constructs under which we raise and educate children today.

We will also focus on the science that influences and impacts prenatal physiologic sex differentiation and brain development related to establishment of individual identity. Multiple studies show that by age 7, transgender and otherwise gender diverse children (approx. 7% of all children) are aware of the ways in which their identity and expression is different from that of their cisgender peers. Prior to that, parents, caregivers, family and friends may (or may not) have observed gender nonconforming behaviors or interests in a child and wondered ‘how’ and ‘why’ their child was different from other children.

Spring 2023: January 11- February 11

Online: Wednesdays, January 11, 18, 25, February 1, 8, 4-7 p.m.; and Saturdays, January 14, 21, 28, February 4, 11, 9 a.m.-noon

A deeper dive into gender identity development, providing a framework for discussion on how gender identity and expression develop over the child/adolescent lifecycle, how it differs from biological and sexual orientation development, and the impact gender roles and societal attributions have on an individual’s sense of their own gender identity.

This course will explore the ways in which child-rearing based on gender stereotypical expectations has evolved as a result of the socio-political, and medical visibility of gender diverse and transgender people in the 20th and 21st centuries.

It will include interaction with panels of gender diverse/transgender adolescents, teens and adults, and coursework involving individual engagement with the same population.

This course will address evidence-based factors that impact that development and expose existing myths and disinformation about ‘why’ visible gender diversity exists (and persists/desists) in a growing number of children, adolescents, and young adults.

Spring 2023: April 5 - May 6

Online: Wednesdays, April 5, 12, 19, 26, 3, 6, 4-7 p.m.; and Saturdays, April 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 9 a.m.-noon

The establishment of patriarchal institutions and intentional misrepresentation of Abrahamic religious texts as discussed in the Summer session of this program provides the foundation for this more in-depth course on contemporary anti-trans bias and hate. It will include examination of the ways in which intersections of race, religion, ethnicity, citizenship and economic/educational disparity exponentially marginalize and oppress those who are transgender, nonbinary or otherwise gender diverse.

We will look at how public awareness and perception of gender diverse and transgender people has evolved in the 20th and 21st centuries—from that of disbelief and indifference, to psycho-medical curiosity and eventually, intersectional intolerance, discrimination, oppression, condemnation and political opportunism.

This course will expose myths and disinformation about ‘why’ visible gender diversity exists in a growing number of children and adolescents, and enable students to discern evidence-based information from subjectively interpreted disinformation and opinion.

Summer 2023: May 31 - July 8

Online: Wednesdays, May 31, June 7, 14, 21, 28, 4-7 p.m.; and Saturdays, June 3, 10, 17, 24, July 8, 9 a.m.-noon

Transgender students exist in every school district, county, city and town in the United States. Recent school surveys and other research tells us that 3% of students identify as a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth. Educators may be aware of general guidelines when it comes to transgender students’ rights and resources, but the guidelines themselves may not be consistent with existing laws or best practices. Furthermore, the rights of transgender, queer, nonbinary and gender diverse adults working within schools and districts are often overlooked in policy and procedure development, discussion and implementation.

We will discuss (in detail) federal, state and local laws such as Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments Act regarding transgender student and adult rights, and provide tools and techniques to enable those attending and their organizations to embrace the full inclusion of transgender individuals in schools, workplaces and communities.

This course will provide school district staff and educators with a step-by-step roadmap to achieving these inclusivity and compliance goals. Implementation support emphasizing community engagement will also be provided to ensure that the unique needs of urban and rural communities are also addressed and that supportive networks can be formed and/or strengthened for ongoing success.

By the end of this course, students will be better prepared to: demonstrate inclusive language, support gender diverse students and address gender-based bullying, engage parents & caregivers in discussion about their child’s gender diversity, analyze curriculum for gender inclusivity and content, and create lesson plans/classroom activities that promote inclusivity.

Schedule: Course dates and descriptions can be found above. Participants must be admitted and enrolled in the certificate program in order to take certificate coursework. Each cohort begins in the fall and is limited to 20 participants to allow for small class size and personalized instruction. Information about required textbooks and/or course reader pack will be provided upon notification of admission to the program.

Credits and Cost: Students (who hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher) will earn 8 semester hours of graduate continuing education credit (800 level). Those who do not have a Bachelor’s degree will receive a certificate of completion. Courses are two credits at a rate of $350 a credit hour. Tuition will be due prior to the start date of each course. For questions, please contact transactive@lclark.edu.

Supportive Community Supportive Environment
and Community

With small cohort sizes of 20 students or less, participants can expect personalized instruction and support from certificate faculty members and peers, with a hybrid format incorporating both in-person instruction and online learning

Social Justice Social Justice Focused

Certificate material will critically examine existing institutional oppressions related to misogyny, patriarchy, socio-cultural bias (both implicit and explicit) and reliance on biological determinism as a defining characteristic of child and youth development and education.

Program Faculty

Jenn Burleton

Program Director, TransActive Gender Project

Cari Zall

Assistant Professor, Lewis & Clark Graduate School

Application Process 

This is a cohort based program beginning in fall. Applications for each cohort open in May and close at the end of September. Applications will be reviewed and acceptance offers made on a rolling basis beginning in summer. Early application is encouraged. Each cohort begins in the fall and is limited to 20 participants each year.  A personal essay, resume, transcript (if applicable), and application fee are required.

Final Application Deadline: Friday, September 16th, 2022

The 2022/2023 application cycle has ended. Please sign up for our mailing list to receive information about upcoming important dates and deadlines for 2023/2024.