The Bard Queer Leadership Project (BQLP) at Simon’s Rock, a B.A. degree program designed for, and by, LGBTQIA+ college students, aiming to elevate LGBTQIA+ college graduates into leadership roles in fields across the workforce. The BQLP is envisioned to expand to a complete college serving traditional age and transfer students over the next few years and would be the first intentionally queer-serving college in the world.
The BQLP aims to increase the presence of LGBTQIA+ individuals leading at higher levels within organizations, while serving as a space for envisioning and actualizing educational practices designed for LGBTQIA+ students to thrive. With its history of innovative practices and successful outcomes with LGBTQIA+ students at the Early College and high school levels, Bard College at Simon’s Rock will also expand its LGBTQIA+ student focus into more traditional college-aged students. Its policies around LGBTQIA+ inclusion are already sought after by other institutions as models, and the college’s LGBTQ+ graduates are among its most satisfied alumni.
The Queer Leadership portion of the academic program goes across the four years, but can also be completed in two or three years, to accommodate transfer students, including transfers from the Early College program of Bard College at Simon’s Rock. The BQLP will lead to a four-year B.A. degree. All students will have an academic program incorporating at least one Concentration in a liberal arts academic field and a new Concentration in Queer Leadership. The academic program will culminate in two capstone experiences: a Senior Thesis aligned with their academic field, with or without a queer studies focus, and a work/internship experience contributing to the growth of their leadership skills.
According to Provost John B. Weinstein, “Simon’s Rock’s location in Massachusetts is well suited, given the rising tide of legislation limiting LGBTQIA+ instruction in many states. BQLP meets this need, responding in Bardian tradition by stepping forward to respond to the crisis of rising LGBTQIA+ student exclusion.”
The information you provide in your application initiates the conversation with your admission counselor. You can start this first step in the application process early, up to a year before enrollment.
Two (2) letters of recommendation are required, at least one (1) of which must be from a current or former teacher, professor, or similar figure from an academic setting. The second recommender may be another academic source or, alternatively, someone who has supervised you in a professional, training, or volunteer capacity.
Submit two essays to show us your point of view and writing style.
Joining a novel queer leadership program is an intrepid academic choice. What goals, ambitions, and motivations have led you to apply for admission to Bard Queer Leadership Project at Simon's Rock? Are there particular experiences, either academic or personal, that have contributed to your desire to focus your studies on queer leadership? How does the particular kind of education and community that the BQLP and Simon's Rock offer fit your own desires for intellectual and personal growth? How will your presence affect the academic and social development of the project? (500 to 1000 words)
Choose one of the following options:
1. How old were you when you first understood that people may not fit neatly into the gender binary? How did you first react to that reality? Has your relationship to the idea of non-binary identities changed over time? If so, how? (500-1000 words)
2. The term 'queer' has evolved much in recent years, with a great variety of meanings between people and groups. What does Queer mean to you personally? What has influenced your current understanding of the term? (500-1000 words)
3. What would be the characteristics of an ideal Queer or LGBTQIA+ affirming world? How might queer leadership serve to achieve this vision? (500-1000 words)
4. How has your understanding of transgender identities evolved over time? Who or what has influenced your thinking? (500-1000 words)
An interview with an admission counselor is required of each applicant. We prefer that the interview be in-person as part of a visit to campus but we also schedule virtual and phone interviews. For non-in-person interviews, you will be invited to interview after submitting your application.
Transcripts from all secondary (high school) and post-secondary (college/university) institutions you have attended must be submitted either at the time of application, or uploaded to your application portal after submission. While unofficial transcripts are acceptable for admission review, with official transcripts being required at the time of enrollment.
A current resume detailing your academic history, activities, and any professional/volunteer experiences should be included in your application materials.
We invite you to submit a piece of your own work (or description of a project, in any form you deem appropriate) that has particularly intrigued and excited you. Examples include but are not limited to a writing sample, a position paper, a problem solution, a poem or short story, a graded test, a research paper, a science project, a copy of a drawing, painting, or photograph, or a recording of music, a film, or a performance. Upload optional work on your Application Status page.
The BQLP accepts applications from high school seniors, recent high school graduates, transfer applicants from other colleges/universities, and A.A. alumni of Bard College at Simon’s Rock.
For students currently in Grades 9-11, we encourage you to apply directly to Bard College at Simon’s Rock where you will be able to concentrate in Queer Leadership.
Applications should be submitted by July 30, 2023 for Fall Semester 2023.
About 80 percent of Simon’s Rock students receive a financial aid package — usually a combination of awards, grants, Federal Work-Study Program, and loans. In addition to need-based awards, students are eligible to apply for federal and state aid, as well as any funding that may be available through private scholarships offered through local organizations.