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Psych Scoop, 7/20/20 - Special Edition

July 20, 2020

July 20th, 2020 - Special Edition

The Psych Scoop is sent to all Psychology Undergraduate students and alumni every Tuesday throughout the academic school year. 

Share your news with psyadvis@umn.edu!

Psychology Advising Announcements

1. Message from the Department

Dear University of Minnesota Psychology Undergraduate Students, Alumni, and Associates:

In recent weeks, we have all received messages from University and collegiate leadership in solidarity with the Black community. We seek to center Black undergraduate student voices at this time as the Department of Psychology builds on critical work to address racial injustices. We are committed to the efforts to engage members of our community in the process of listening, planning, and action to address concerns raised and to support the work already in progress. We echo the call for the urgent work needed to address injustices and inequity that face all marginalized communities in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota. We support the Department’s efforts for Diversity and Inclusion and are committed to the work of dismantling racism from our respective positions.

In the wake of mourning the murder of George Floyd, CLA Dean John Coleman expressed the following:

“As a college, we commit to examining our own policies, procedures, and practices to identify the changes needed to mitigate and eliminate inequities. We commit with urgency to ensuring an environment where all of us can be equally valued and respected and where we all experience equal dignity.”

On June 11th the leadership of the Department of Psychology sent a message of our values and plans with respect to race and justice. This message was sent to faculty, staff, and graduate students, but unfortunately was not also sent to undergraduate students. We have reviewed and adjusted our procedures to ensure that future such communications are also shared with undergraduate students. At this time we want to highlight some of the more immediate work underway in the Department of Psychology, and extend the invitation for all to participate in the next steps.

June 11th Email from Dr. Jeff Simpson, Faculty and Department of Psychology Chair
Subject: Departmental actions to address racial injustice and inequity

Dear Graduate Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The tragic events and social unrest across our country during the past two weeks have put a spotlight on the need for all sectors of society to acknowledge racial injustice and inequity and do something to address it. Our department is no exception.

The leadership team in the department is keenly aware that we have problems to fix. Know that we care about this issue, it is a priority for us, and we are committed to taking short-term and long-term action steps to resolve these problems.

During the 2019-20 academic year, the faculty and department staff worked to develop a 3-5 year strategic plan. One of our 3 major initiatives is to better incorporate diversity and inclusion in our research, teaching, service, and daily operations. This past spring, we articulated a series of action steps that the department can take to achieve this initiative. Some of them have, in fact, already been launched.

There are also things we can - and will - do immediately. They are:
--Strongly lobby the Dean to allow us to proceed with our search this fall for an assistant professor in health disparities, with a particular focus on African-American, as well as Latinx and Native-American, communities, despite the University's and College's current budget challenges. This position is a key factor in our short-term efforts to diversify our faculty.
--Explore the development and adoption of an equity and inclusion-related criteria in annual reviews for faculty, staff, and graduate students.
--Notify all instructors to review their course syllabi and course content to ensure that a broader range of diversity-relevant themes and issues are integrated throughout the curriculum, when appropriate. Resources for how to review course syllabi and content in this way will be noted.
--Provide funding to student groups to host racial equity events and programming in the coming year.
--Add the land acknowledgment statement to department documents, information, etc. and encourage personnel to add it to their email signature.
--Encourage personnel to note their gender pronouns in their email signature.

That said, we need to do more, including listening to what various stakeholders--including students, staff, faculty, and other interested parties--have to say and to recommend. In that spirit, the department will be organizing another Town Hall meeting (the date TBD), the goal of which will be to listen to concerns and suggestions raised by our graduate students, with input from the Graduate Student Liaison Committee. Following the Town Hall, I will announce a Work Group that will be charged with the task of drafting a document outlining our guiding principles with regard to addressing racial injustice/inequity and suggesting some additional immediate, short-term action steps the department might adopt to address these issues, as well as potential accountability measures. This document will then be reviewed (and perhaps revised) by the entire department early this fall. After that, specific, newly agreed-upon action steps will be launched. They will occur in concert with several of the action steps already specified in our 3-5 year strategic plan.

Change is needed, and we are committed to making it happen.

Best,
Jeff

We want to hear your voices. We need to understand your experiences. Join us.

- Undergraduates -
How to Get Involved in the Psychology Department & How to share your experiences

  1. Join one of the 4 Department Student Organizations - have your collective voices represented by group leadership.
    1. Association of Black Psychology Students
    2. IOPC Industrial-Organizational Psychology Club
    3. PISA - Psychology International Students Association
    4. Psychology Club (& Psi Chi)
  2. Participate in the Psychology Student Advisory Council - calls for participating coming in August 2020.
  3. Direct feedback about your experiences as an Undergraduate (concerns, complaints, or highlight a positive experience):
    1. Share with a Psychology Advising staff member directly.
    2. Share with any of the following:
      1. Director of Undergraduate Studies - Dr. Moin Syed (moin@umn.edu)
      2. Assoc. Chair and Diversity Committee Chair - Dr. Rich Lee (richlee@umn.edu)
      3. Chair of Psychology - Dr. Jeff Simpson (simps108@umn.edu)
    3. *New* - Submit to the Anonymous Online Suggestion Box - for comments, feedback, and suggestions.
    4. Provide direct feedback on your PSY Course Evaluations when you feel a course does not address racial diversity and equity in course materials.
    5. Participate in upcoming Psychology Town Hall events.
      1. Provide direct feedback about the Chair’s proposed immediate action items.
  4. Participate in research with other students and with our faculty and graduate students to engage in diversity science through available research opportunities (PSY 5993UROPMcNair Scholars, and MSROP)

The Psychology Undergraduate Program has nearly 1,800 students enrolled in our programs of study. We want to ensure that your voices are heard in these processes, especially at this moment.

Sincerely,

Mike Houlahan
Assoc. Director of Undergraduate Studies
Psychology Undergraduate Advising

Dr. Moin Syed
Director of Undergraduate Studies - Psychology

Dr. Rich Lee
Assoc. Chair/Chair of Diversity Committee - Psychology