Diversity Steering Corner
Our Diversity Steering Committee (DSC) is comprised of Department faculty, staff, and graduate students. They meet twice-quarterly and are involved in many projects during the year, including meeting with prospective students, coordinating admissions recruitment weekend, and what's listed below.
Climate survey created and sent to the psychology department’s graduate students
It is the mission of the DSC to promote inclusive and equitable policies and attitudes throughout the Psychology Department; however, we need to know what the current departmental climate is like before we can determine where and how to intervene!
This year, the DSC has collaborated with the Graduate Program Action Committee (GPAC) to produce a targeted, comprehensive survey that assesses our graduate students’ experience of the current culture around academics and diversity in the Psychology Department. We want to have a finger on the pulse of graduate students’ sense of interpersonal connection to and satisfaction with the department, their understanding of the academic requirements of the Ph.D., and their experiences within the department (positive and negative), relating to diversity.
Surveys were distributed to all psychology graduate students in week nine of spring quarter. The DSC and GPAC plan to summarize and present results, along with suggestions for improvement, at the beginning of autumn quarter 2016.
Increasing inclusivity and refining our thoughts on diversity
In addition to the climate survey, we have spent the year refining how we think about diversity and inclusivity. Many times when people think of diversity, the first thing that comes into their mind might be racial/ethnic or gender diversity. However, race and gender represent only a few of the ways that people might identify, or feel marginalized. As a committee, we wanted to make sure that our initiatives considered ways to support a broader range of marginalized and historically oppressed groups. To this end, we have brainstormed ways to make our department more inclusive for people who are diverse in ways that are concealable, or might be considered “invisible” (some examples of these identities include but are not limited to: trans and gender non-conforming individuals, first-generation college students status). While the initiatives in this domain are still in their infancy, we hope that by the upcoming year we will have some new developments to report on!
Overall, our goal is that diversity within our department not be an afterthought, for any group. Instead, we hope that diversity is considered in all aspects of our department. We think that the DSC can facilitate that.
Increasing DSC Organization and Community
Restructuring the DSC
In order to make sure that we are making the most of our committee and fully engaging our committee members, we have made a few changes to the structure of our organization. Originally, the DSC met once a quarter; however, in winter we decided to start scheduling meetings twice a quarter. By meeting twice a quarter we hope that across the year we will increase the number of people who come to committee meetings. Furthermore, for people who are unable to attend a meeting for one reason or another, we hope that more frequent meetings will provide people a chance to stay continually engaged with and updated on the committee.
In addition to increasing the number of meetings we have a quarter, we also created a series of subcommittees, so that people can direct their efforts within the DSC. Currently, we have created subcommittees on: 1) increasing inclusivity; 2) social events; 3) climate survey; and 4) the diversity specialization. Hopefully, these subcommittees will help us to define and achieve our goals for the coming years. If there is a subcommittee that you want to hear more about, or would like to propose a new subcommittee, please let us know.
Subcommittee spotlight: Social events
The DSC has created a social subcommittee and a DSC Facebook group!
The goal of the social subcommittee is to brainstorm and organize events related to diversity that increase social and community connection. For example, DSC members recently met for a happy hour to discuss diversity related policies of the presidential candidates. Potential future ideas include watching movies, visiting relevant museum exhibits, and attending community rallies and events together. If you have an idea for a social event, let our subcommittee members know: Joyce Yang (firstname.lastname@example.org), Jenn Staples (email@example.com), and Frances Aunon (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We created the DSC Facebook group (“UW Psych Diversity Steering Committee and Friends”) to provide a more informal platform for frequent sharing of diversity related news and events and to allow DSC members to coordinate more spontaneous attendance at events. If you’re not in the DSC and are interested in joining the Facebook group, we would love to have you involved. Email Ari (email@example.com) or Sarah (firstname.lastname@example.org).
|Diversity Steering Committee Members|
Finally, we have also been working to update our website. Our website might be some people’s first glimpse into the DSC and the diversity represented within our department. Therefore, we wanted to make sure our public image accurately reflects our current department and DSC, and will hopefully inspire new members to join!
With this, a wonderful subcommittee worked to update the language on our website. Specifically, we updated the description and requirements of our Diversity Science Specialization so that prospective and current students who visit the website can have a clear understanding of the requirements of the specialization. We also updated the written goals of our committee. With this update, we hope that as a committee, we are transparent in our goals, and can thus measure every initiative we bring to the table against whether it makes progress towards our broader goals.
However, our work on the website is still not done. We are currently in the process of updating the faculty page to highlight faculty who are themselves from diverse backgrounds as well as faculty who study issues related to diversity. Additionally, we are collecting bios from current graduate students on how their work relates to issues of diversity or how diversity in academia is important to them. We can’t wait to showcase these!
New Awardees of the Diversity Science Specialization: Joyce Yang, Andy Paves, Haley Carroll, and Jenn Staples
The DSC has recently awarded the psychology Diversity Science Specialization certificate to Joyce Yang, Andy Paves, Haley Carroll, and Jenn Staples. Congratulations!
To obtain the Diversity Science Specialization, each student completed four courses related to diversity and a capstone project (https://psych.uw.edu/graduate/areas/diversity-science). The titles of Andy, Joyce, Haley, and Jenn’s capstone projects illustrate the quality and depth of their research focus on diversity:
- Andy Paves: “Coping with discrimination: The roles of discrimination, coping, and ethnic identity in alcohol use of Filipino/a American young adults” (Advisor: Dr. Mary Larimer)
- Joyce Yang: “A mixed-methods study supporting a model of Chinese parental HIV disclosure” (Advisor: Dr. Jane Simoni)
- Haley Carroll: “Bridging the research and practice gap: Qualitative examination of domestic violence and alcohol use in clinical, program implementation, and policy making populations in Chennai, India” (Advisor: Dr. Mary Larimer)
- Jenn Staples: “Minority stress: Understanding alcohol use and suicidality in transgender adults” (Advisor: Dr. Bill George)
Joyce was able to provide a reflection on how obtaining the Diversity Science Specialization has shaped her:
Pursuing the Diversity Science Specialization throughout my graduate training allowed me to remain mindful of the intersecting influences of diversity and identity on all aspects of human behavior. This framework was critical for all of my research, clinical training, and in general how I experienced the world around me. I think the Specialization is a helpful tool for all psychologists in training to build awareness of our bias and how we approach our work.
We unfortunately don’t have space to describe Andy, Joyce, Haley, and Jenn’s amazing diversity-related work in more detail. We encourage those who are interested to contact Andy, Joyce, Haley, and Jenn. The DSC looks forward to discussing and evaluating future students’ Specialization applications.