Dickinson Welcomes New Director of LGBTQ Services

Dickinson+Welcomes+New+Director+of+LGBTQ+Services

Amanda Wampler '24, Guest Writer

Dickinson College has recently hired  Todd Nordgren, Ph.D., as the new director of The Office of LGBTQ Services. He will replace Erica Lawrence, now an Associate Dean of Students, in this position. 

Additionally, Nordgren will teach as a faculty member in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) department.

Nordgren joined the Dickinson College community in July 2020 after serving as a Visiting Assistant Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University. Nordgren said that he looks forward to his time at Dickinson, and he has many plans and hopes for this coming year.  

Prior to obtaining his Ph.D. at Northwestern, Nordgren was a field director for the nonprofit organization United Council of University of Wisconsin Students. There, he was involved in representing students across the entire state of Wisconsin by lobbying and advocating for relevant issues. Nordgren elaborated on a few accomplishments during his time at the United Council of UW Students. 

“My job as field director was to help organize our grassroots campaign, and those were on a variety of things such as getting gender-inclusive bathrooms in campuses across the state, but also supporting the state when they had adopted a policy to allow domestic partnership benefits, before the Supreme Court decision to allow same-sex marriage,” said Nordgren.

Nordgren described how his plans will be expanded during this fall. “I am looking into creating an alumni network, which will be possible even when we aren’t on campus,” he said. “We are also expanding our training and education program, expanding on our RAISE program.” 

Along with these changes, Nordgren explained his hope to expand the types of connections LGBTQ students can make while at Dickinson. This includes the expansion of social spaces for students to interact with staff members, possibly creating a mentorship program, and continuing with the new Salon program. The Salon program, which was started just before Dickinson shifted to remote learning in March, will offer a space for scholars or professors to speak on a relevant issue that members of the Dickinson community can learn about.  

Along with these programs, Nordgren explained that the department is looking to expand social events for this fall that allow LGBTQ students to safely express themselves and join in a rich community. During October, which is LGBTQ History month, Dickinson hosts a multitude of events for students. This year, the annual Out on Britton will be Out on(line) Britton, allowing students and faculty to join in celebration of National Coming Out Day on October 11th. Throughout the fall, Nordgren will work  to plan even more events, including a bisexual mixer on Bisexuality Awareness Day, movie nights, and trivia nights. , “We are looking for ways for students to engage in ways other than just zoom, so we are looking at discussion groups, film screenings, social media campaigns, and still some events with fun and games,” said Nordgren.

Nordgren, especially this fall, hopes to offer outlets for the community, while still being cautious of LGBTQ students at home who may not be out and may not be in the safest position. Nordgren said, “It is important for us to offer a range of ways for people to engage, so they feel comfortable and safe doing it in their own homes, or wherever they might be.” 

When asked what drew him to the position, Nordgren said, “This position for me is bringing together the two different things I have done in my career.” As Director, Nordgren will organize expanded training, advocacy support, and much more, for students while pursuing his interest in LGBTQ representation through his teaching position. Nordgren is looking forward to this position and the connections that he will make at Dickinson.