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The department’s DEI committee has conducted two student climate surveys since Spring 2021. One hundred and eighteen psychology or human development majors or minors completed the most recent survey in 2022. Approximately 59% of respondents identified as White, 19% Latino/a/x, 7% African American, 3% Asian American, 2% Native American, and 10% as other students of color. Fifty-nine percent identified as a woman, 18% as a man, and 17% as non-binary. Lastly, 45% of students identified as straight, 46% identified as something other than straight (e.g., bisexual, pansexual, asexual, etc.), and 9% did not self-identify.
The survey asked a range of questions regarding students’ perceptions of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Department of Psychological Sciences. Examples of questions asked were: “Overall, my psychology classes teach material that reflects my cultural background; I feel supported by the psychology department; The psychology department is committed to diversity and inclusion; and Psychology department policies discriminate against certain groups of students.” Generally, students agreed the Department was committed to DEI and creating a supportive atmosphere for students. Students also noted they enjoyed their time in the Department and appreciated their professors. That being said, some students reported through qualitative feedback that the Department could improve in several areas. Suggestions for improvement included: the need for faculty to be better trained in issues related to DEI; greater representation of diverse psychologists in class content and materials; a desire to connect more with other students and faculty in the Department; greater diversity among the psychology faculty (particularly in terms of race/ethnicity).
In response to student feedback, the Department of Psychological Sciences implemented the following since 2021: conducted four DEI-related trainings for faculty in the department; created a DEI page on the department’s webpage and a poster to hang in the department so others know the committee exists and the work they do; shared DEI curriculum-related materials to the faculty on the department’s website, and crafted language for faculty to be evaluated on DEI for retention, tenure, and promotion, and post-tenure review. In the future, the Department intends to create more opportunities for students and faculty to build community, and to develop a strategic plan for recruiting more diverse faculty.