The Psychology Department Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness has the mission of creating a diverse and inclusive departmental environment for faculty, students, and staff. This committee meets regularly to discuss how the department can express its commitment to diversity (including but not limited to issues of gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, and SES) in its members and culture and through its research, courses, and speakers.
The Psychology Department Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness invites comments from members of our community about what we are doing well and how we could improve in our on-going efforts to achieve, support, and benefit from diversity among our faculty, staff and students.
Our committee seeks to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, staff, fellows, and faculty in the department. Members of the committee lead various initiatives aimed at addressing issues of diversity and accessibility (including but not limited to issues of gender, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability status, socioeconomic status, and religion). To read more about our past and present initiatives, click here.
Over time, we have compiled our diversity and accessibility statements, best practices, opportunities, and outside resources. These resources include a listserv advertising research positions broadly, with a special effort to reach traditionally underrepresented students. Additionally, the Diversity Committee has identified a series of concrete steps for the department to foster racial, socioeconomic, and gender diversity among departmental students, trainees and staff. We have also compiled and shared with the department a document summarizing accessibility best practices and best practices in respecting gender identity to help make the psychology department a supportive, inclusive, and accessible space for all.
In summer 2020 the Diversity Committee partnered with the Yale Office of Graduate Student Development and Diversity to hold a virtual “Psychology Bootcamp”, with the aim of demystifying life in research psychology and what it entails. This three-hour event was geared towards students at all levels, from undergraduate to post-grads. Each hour was a separate session devoted to a specific topic, of which there were three:
Considering a career in research psychology
Getting research experience
Applying to graduate programs
Current Yale Psychology graduate students, lecturers, and faculty facilitated each session, and the event was attended by over 300 participants. Recordings and materials can be found here.
Students from underrepresented minorities face a variety of obstacles as they advance through the academic pipeline. Our Sneak Peek program provides underrepresented undergraduates and recent grads with the opportunity to have an “inside look” at Psychology Ph.D. programs, encompassing what goes into becoming and being a Psychology graduate student.
Outreach Pipeline Listserv
Many lab manager and research assistant positions in psychology are advertised by word of mouth, obtained through networking, or influenced by the institution an applicant attended. This structure of employment advertising is inherently biased and puts historically underrepresented minorities and students at non-research focused institutions at a distinct disadvantage. The goal of our outreach pipeline is to advertise opportunities for full-time research positions or paid research experiences that would otherwise not be publicized to students at these institutions. If you would like your department to receive our monthly digest of opportunities for undergrads and recent graduates, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To add an opportunity to our digest, visit http://tiny.cc/PsychUndergradListserv.
This committee is devoted to making the psychology department a supportive, inclusive, and accessible space for all. The Accessibility Initiative works to ensure that anyone with any form of disability or chronic illness can fully participate in department life and can access our research. Since this initiative’s inception, we have established contact with the Yale’s Student Accessibility Services office to ensure the department is making the best use of its resources. Further, we have also encouraged faculty, students, and staff to consider accessibility when planning events and have advised on how to accommodate people with disabilities who wish to attend. To that end, we developed a statement for professors to include in their course syllabi, as well as a statement for members of the department to include in their emails about departmental events. Moving forward, we will continue to spread awareness of Yale’s existing resources and encourage department members to consider accessibility in all aspects of department life. For a more detailed view of our ongoing efforts, please see our Accessibility Initiative To Do List.
Special Colloquium Series
We believe that representation matters. As such, one of our goals as a committee has been to increase the representation among our visiting speakers in the department. The Department of Psychology at Yale invites upwards of fifty speakers each year to present their research to the department. In order to ensure that we invite speakers from a diverse array of backgrounds and social identities, we have created a set of guidelines to help coordinators when deciding which speakers to invite. These guidelines draw on principles of awareness and accountability to ensure that coordinators are aware of the diversity (or lack thereof) among invited speakers and to hold them accountable when making their final decisions. We have also set aside funding to bring in one colloquium speaker per year from a traditionally underrepresented background. This special colloquium event not only adds to the diversity of invited speakers in the department, but it also enriches the diversity among the type of research presented.
Every two years, the Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness hosts the Yale Psychology Panel of Alums. This event invites Yale Psychology PhD graduates from underrepresented backgrounds to return to the department to connect with current Yale Psychology graduate students. This event consists of a panel discussion where former students describe what they are currently doing with their PhD and how they overcame the challenges of graduate school. During the panel, current students have the opportunity to ask questions about navigating difficult situations in graduate school with special regard to how social identities can present unique challenges for certain students. Further, students also have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with the alums. Throughout this event, current students are able to forge connections with students who either share similar backgrounds as them or who have experienced similar challenges. This impact of this is two-fold: 1) current students build connections with PhDs from underrepresented backgrounds and 2) they gain resources for handling difficulties that may arise related to their background or social identities. Forging connections with people who share similar experiences or identities is an important way for current students to build up their network in order to successfully overcome challenges and prepare them for the road ahead.
Graduate Student Mentoring
The mentoring initiative strives to make our own Yale psychology doctoral program more inclusive by demystifying the program and providing social support. Incoming first-years can opt in to being matched with more senior graduate student mentor[s], who check in with them regularly throughout the year, explain program guidelines and hidden norms, and answer questions. In our annual survey of the program, mentees report that this support is invaluable in navigating the unfamiliar graduate school environment. Mentors report that they find the opportunity to interact with and support new students incredibly rewarding.
Gender Identity Advocacy
The gender identity advocacy initiative is focused on creating a safe and inclusive environment for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming community members and visitors. As part of this initiative, we have successfully lobbied to make the restrooms in the psychology department gender-inclusive. We have also created a “Best Practices in Respecting Gender Identity” document with guidelines for name and pronoun use.