The Arcus Fellowship at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) aims to encourage colleges and universities to improve their campus climates by building the leadership capacity of LGBTQ students who:
- Are non-cisgender (Transsexual, Transgender, and/or Gender-Nonconforming people) 

- Are from communities of color, and
- Attend colleges or universities that have limited LGBTQ resources.

With support from a Home Campus Mentor (a faculty member, administrator, counselor, or student life professional from the Fellow's college or university) and an Arcus Mentor (a PhD student from the CIIS Human Sexuality program), each Arcus Fellow will design, implement, and evaluate a project that directly addresses harassment, bullying, discrimination, and social isolation experienced by LGBTQ students - particularly trans students and students of color - on the Arcus Fellow's home campus.

For a summary of the Arcus Fellows, please visit the First Cohort Page or the Second Cohort Page

2016 Arcus Fellows Group Photo The 2016 Arcus Fellows


Many LGBTQ college students are often isolated with no ‘out' allies on campus, minimal LGBTQ representation in their classes' curricula, and a genuine fear of homophobic students, faculty, and administrators. The Campus Pride 2010 State of Higher Education for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People survey interviewed more than 5,000 LGBTQ college and university students nationwide and found that 13% of queer spectrum and 43% of trans spectrum respondents feared for their physical safety. 43% of queer spectrum and 63% of trans spectrum respondents concealed their identity to avoid intimidation. Fear for one's physical safety and hiding one's identity due to fear of intimidation were significantly more likely among LGBTQ and/or trans people of color.

How students experience campus climates influences both learning and developmental outcomes: academic achievement, healthy identity development, rates of substance abuse, and sense of purpose or hopelessness are all affected by students' experiences on campus.

Best practices in higher education show that colleges and universities can change their policies and procedures to be more inclusive, resulting in improved campus climates and enhanced learning experiences for LGBTQ students. These changes include creating and enforcing non-discrimination policies for employees and students, underscoring institutional commitments to inclusivity and opposition to overt and covert harassment, integrating LGBTQ material into curricula and co-curricular programming, responding swiftly and appropriately to bias- and hate-related incidents, and improving recruitment and retention efforts to maintain a truly diverse workforce and student population.

2016 Arcus Fellows in the class. 2016 Arcus Fellows during their visit for Expanding the Circle Conference

Financial Support

Each Arcus Fellow and home campus mentor will receive the following stipends:

Arcus Fellow:

Implementation of campus project $3,000
Travel and lodging for 2016 Arcus Workshop in San Francisco $1,000
Travel and lodging for November 2017 Expanding the Circle $700
Total funding $4,700

Home campus mentor:

Honoraria for mentorship and support of Arcus Fellow's campus project $1,000
Travel and lodging for 2016 Arcus Workshop in San Francisco $1,000
Total funding $2,000

Arcus Fellows and home campus mentors must be able to secure additional funding for expenses beyond what is offered by the Arcus Fellowship.

2016 Arcus Fellows in the class. 2016 Arcus Fellows during their visit for Expanding the Circle Conference


Spring 2016 Prospective Arcus Fellows and home campus mentors complete and submit Fellowship applications.

  • April 15th, 2016: Application deadline
  • April 28th, 2016: Arcus Fellows are announced; Fellows and home campus mentors are paired with Arcus Mentors.
  • June 3-5th, 2016: Arcus Fellows, home campus mentors, and Arcus Mentors participate in an intensive three-day event. During the event, Fellows and Mentors will meet with the first cohort of Fellows to learn about their projects. There will also be workshops, panel discussions and speakers to share, network, and learn.
  • Fall 2016 - Spring 2017: Implement their campus project with assistance from their home campus mentors and Arcus Mentors, Arcus Fellows
  • February 2017: Fellows and home campus mentors will meet as a group via skype or zoom to check in.
  • November 2017: Informed by their firsthand experiences in program and policy design, implementation, and evaluation, Arcus Fellows present their work to higher education professionals at the seventh annual Expanding the Circle Summer Institute.

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