Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

Department DEI History

The University of Michigan Department of Psychology has a long-standing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). That commitment is evident in the composition of our faculty, leadership team, and graduate student body; in our curricular offerings; in the content and pedagogical practices of many faculty; in the professional development programming offered within the department; and in faculty and student evaluations of the department’s climate.

Many of our faculty integrate the University’s mission of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) into their research, teaching, and service. With respect to research, our department recognizes excellence in diversity science research with an annual Faculty Diversity Research Award. The University recently established the James Jackson Distinguished Diversity Scholar Career Award, named in honor of Psychology Department faculty member James Jackson, who was also its inaugural recipient. Many of our faculty in different areas of the department direct research labs that conduct basic and applied research related to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Indeed, for decades Michigan Psychology has been a leader in diversity initiatives and has been at the forefront of institutional leadership and transformation. Our faculty have been recognized by national awards recognizing their demonstrated commitment to DEI (from SPSSI, APA, and other professional organizations). Former Department Chair Professor Robert Sellers has served as Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion and the founding Chief Diversity Officer. Members of our faculty have also directed LSA’s National Center for Institutional Diversity, served as the Associate Dean for Diversity and Professional Development in our college, and as Associate Dean for Diversity in the School of Social Work. In 2019, UM launched the Distinguished Diversity and Social Transformation Fellows program to recognize faculty excellence in diversity-related teaching, service, and scholarship. Several of our faculty have been honored with this distinction.

The department has created and supported a range of DEI-related national programs and initiatives that create a pipeline for diverse faculty and support excellence in diversity science. For example, we have consistently hosted and sponsored the National Black Graduate Conference in Psychology (BGCP). BGCP provides capacity-building support (e.g., critical conceptual and methodological feedback), professional development workshops, and mentorship to African American doctoral students from around the nation. The conference has trained more than 1,200 African American doctoral students over its 25-year history and has been recognized as one of the nation’s most effective faculty pipeline programs. Our department has also hosted the national conference of APA’s Division 45 (Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology).

UM’s strategic plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) calls for increased effort to educate students from all backgrounds. Psychology plays a central role in advancing this goal. Relative to other majors within the college of Literature, Science, and the Arts, we teach more undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds in terms of race and ethnicity, citizenship status, and family income. For example, the number of undergraduates that received Pell grants (total family income <$50,000) outstrips their representation elsewhere in the college, and Psychology has been a leader in recruiting transfer students from regional community colleges. And unlike many STEM majors who are traditionally disproportionately male, women constitute well over half of Psychology and BCN majors. At the graduate level, the department hosts an annual Diversity Recruitment Weekend.

The department hosts a number of programs and initiatives aimed at recruitment and retaining a diverse graduate student body. These initiatives include providing financial and in-kind support to graduate student organizations that are focused on DEI-related values. We recognize excellence in diversity science and diversity service among graduate students through annual Diversity Research Awards and Diversity Service Awards. The Diversity Committee hosts inclusive speed mentorship programs, fellowship application workshops, a summer writing camp, a diversity keynote speaker, and workshops and panels on human diversity and inclusion topics.

Moving forward, the department is committed to continuing and strengthening our DEI efforts, with the goals of increasing diversity in faculty, student, and staff demographics, creating an inclusive climate where everyone can do their best work, and maintaining our status as world leaders in diversity education and research.