Our department hosts a diverse community of people with a wide range of backgrounds and social identities, and we strive to honor the richness and complexity of every individual’s lived experiences. We also acknowledge psychology’s role in reinforcing systems of inequity that adversely impact communities historically oppressed based on factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability status, and socioeconomic status. Therefore, we are committed to actively working against the hegemonic structures, mechanisms, and policies in place that continue to perpetuate cycles of harm.
To strive toward this goal, we adopt a cultural humility approach to our scholarship–including research, teaching, mentoring, and service–in which we engage in critical self-assessment, uplift and empower underrepresented voices, and commit to ongoing accountability.
In practice, we commit to developing these crucial, interrelated areas:
- Using tangible criteria to critically evaluate the existing curriculum and offering enhanced coursework that explicitly highlights DEI issues, social justice, and antiracism.
- Fall 2021: Established Best Practices Guide for Engaging and Inclusive Teaching based on research
- Fall 2022: Surveyed faculty on DEI ongoing practices and issued report with recommendations to department
- Spring 2023: Created teaching reflection checklist to assess annual review content
- Current: Adding DEI-related courses to Liberal Arts diversity certificate
- Intro to Psychology of Gender, added Fall ‘22
- Human Sexuality, added Spring ‘22
- Psych of Religion TBA ‘24-’25
- Multicultural Psych TBA ‘25
- In Progress: Psych Dept Syllabi Inventory & on-going work by Diversity UTAs
- In Progress: Building toolkit for assessing DEI in courses
- Creating an environment that attracts, supports, and retains historically excluded groups and cultivates safe and healing spaces for the professional and personal growth of all faculty, post docs, students, and staff.
- Establishment of BRIDGE Diversity Alliance which has provided opportunities for identity-based affinity groups and other points of connection
- Establishment of U-Belong Undergraduate Student Club for diversity appreciation & community building
- Current: Bringing in regular speakers with expertise in DEI-related topics
- In Progress: Establishing quarterly newsletter to share resources and research on social justice topics as well as updates on DEI Committee and working groups
- Soliciting regular feedback and engagement from all members of the community to promptly remedy disparities in experiences, opportunity gaps, and outcomes based on marginalized status.
- Fall 2021: Established DEI Corner to promote and foster DEI-related discussions across all members of the department
- Spring 2022: Surveyed and analyzed Psychology undergraduates, graduates, staff, and faculty on diversity efforts and climate.
- Current: Crafting community-wide DEI-related statements to address current events
- Providing resources and opportunities to individuals from underrepresented and historically marginalized groups.
- Current: BRIDGE-sponsored application fee waivers for prospective graduate students
- Current: Collaboration with NextGEN Psych Scholars program for underrepresented undergraduates in psychology
- Current: Provision of Bunton-Waller Graduate Award for underrepresented students
- Current: Creation of BRIDGE Impact Awards to recognize excellence in DEI
- Engaging in culturally sensitive and mindful scholarship that promotes equity and justice.
- Spring 2023: Provided faculty with a worksheet to encourage accountability in their annual reviews to department administration
- In Progress: Establishment of Social Justice Learning Group
- In Progress: Leading DEI professional development and training workshops for faculty, staff, and grad students
- In Progress: Creating a classroom database summarizing empirical articles conducted about or by individuals with diverse backgrounds and/or social identities
We pledge to support and sustain this ongoing process of critical self-reflection, evaluation, and implementation. To ensure the success of this effort, we jointly leverage the Associate Head of DEI, the BRIDGE Diversity Alliance, and the Psychology Department DEI Committee while striving to instill individual accountability for advancing our mission in every member of our community. Ultimately, our vision is a department that secures the success of all its members, the broader psychological community, and society at large by creating a diverse, equity-minded, and inclusive space.
Kristin A. Buss, Ph.D.
Head, Department of Psychology,
The Pennsylvania State University
José A. Soto, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
Associate Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The Pennsylvania State University