Statement on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The Psychology Department at Virginia Commonwealth University believes that fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion is essential to achieving the education and research missions of the department. When all faculty, staff, and students have a voice and are encouraged to contribute, the core values of the department are strengthened. People from all backgrounds and perspectives have contributions to make, and the department is committed to encouraging and supporting the contributions of all its members who differ across race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language, physical appearance, ideas, perspectives, and values. Promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion is an active process that requires ongoing commitment and self-reflection with regard to the departmental climate, education, and research mission.

Diversity Committee Mission Statement

Departmental Climate

The Psychology Department strives to foster an affirming climate in which faculty, staff, and students feel included and supported in efforts to accomplish their academic and professional goals. Valuing and celebrating diversity among all department members helps foster an environment in which all individuals develop, thrive, and are productive. We take the following steps to creating a departmental climate that encourages and supports contributions of all members:

  • Forming the Committee for the Promotion of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, a body comprising representative faculty, staff, and students from across the department to support values expressed in the Statement of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and to implement the Mission Statement.
  • Recruiting and retaining faculty, staff, and students from underrepresented groups.
  • Promoting a departmental climate that provides equitable support to all faculty, staff, and students.
  • Welcoming open and supportive discussion regarding how to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion.
  • Providing and promoting department-wide education about the lived experiences of and issues that disproportionately affect underrepresented groups.
  • Providing resources and information in response to events that affect underrepresented groups.

Education

The Psychology Department is dedicated to incorporating multiple perspectives in the undergraduate and graduate curriculum and to ensuring that instructors, clinical supervisors, and mentors are inclusive in their teaching and training of students. Through curriculum, clinical training and practice, and service learning opportunities, the department will strive to expose students to the issues and assets experienced by various groups. These efforts are designed to increase students’ insight and sensitivity to various lived experiences and to allow them to actively engage with all people in society. Our goal is to provide a learning environment that fosters insight and sensitivity to academic, clinical, and professional activities in the following ways:

  • Striving to create an inclusive learning environment in which instructors, clinical supervisors, and students can work to increase their cultural competence.
  • Empowering all individuals to actively engage in the learning process.
  • Helping instructors and clinical supervisors model and promote mutual respect for all individuals in the learning environment.

Please see the following links for specific statements regarding our commitment to diversity in clinical training and practice for the Clinical (https://psychology.vcu.edu/graduate/clinical/) and Counseling (https://psychology.vcu.edu/graduate/counseling/) areas.

Research

The Psychology Department is committed to conducting research that broadens scientific understanding of the influences of psychological processes in shaping everyday life. Regardless of one’s research focus, the department is committed to conducting research that is culturally competent and not exploitative of underrepresented communities. Examples include:

  • Understanding the needs of underrepresented groups, as stated by members of those groups without engaging in tokenism (i.e., making only a symbolic effort to include members of underrepresented groups to appear diverse).
  • Engaging in community outreach that is informed and respectful of the target populations.
  • Disseminating research findings to help better the lives of the communities involved.
  • Providing opportunities for faculty and students to learn how to conduct socially just research that promotes the well-being of underrepresented groups.
  • Promoting continued awareness of issues in research that affect underrepresented communities, through departmental communications.

Definitions

 

Equity

The proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts and outcomes for all.


Applied Research Center. (2009). Catalytic change: Lessons learned from the racial justice grantmaking assessment (PDF). Retrieved from http://racialequity.org/docs/Racial_justice_assessment_loresFINAL.pdf.

Diversity 

All the ways in which people differ, encompassing all the different characteristics that make one individual or group different from another. A broad definition includes not only race, ethnicity and gender — the groups that most often come to mind when the term diversity is used — but also age, national origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, language and physical appearance. It also involves different ideas, perspectives, and values.


University of California-Berkeley Center for Equity, Inclusion and Diversity. (n.d.). Glossary of terms. Retrieved from http://diversity.berkeley.edu/glossary-terms.

Inclusion 

Authentically bringing traditionally excluded individuals and/or groups into processes, activities and decision/policy making in a way that shares power.


MP Associates and Center for Assessment and Policy Development. (2013).
www.racialequitytools.org glossary (PDF). Retrieved from
http://www.racialequitytools.org/images/uploads/RET_Glossary913L.pdf.