Department of Psychology’s Diversity & Anti-Racism Statement
Prepared by CODA’s Anti-Racism Statement Subcommittee
The Department of Psychology at Loyola University Chicago is best served when the students, faculty, and staff reflect and celebrate the diversity of society at large. An integrated academic community is characterized by a broad range of perspectives. Accordingly, our Department is committed to:
- Increasing the recruitment and retention of historically excluded students, faculty, and staff,
- Welcoming and seeking academic perspectives from historically marginalized groups and actively supporting academic freedom,
- Developing and sustaining an inclusive social and working environment that supports a variety of career paths, and
- Advocating for and supporting the interests of individuals from all races, sexes, gender identities, gender expressions, sexual orientations, religions, ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic backgrounds, physical and mental abilities, and residency statuses.
In fulfilling this commitment, we will strive to address social problems and respond creatively and compassionately to the challenges facing our local, state, national, and global communities.
In addition to our commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion, the Department of Psychology is explicitly committed to anti-racism. As a department, we will strive for anti-racist undergraduate and graduate education, research, and learning. As part of this aspiration, we acknowledge that we live and work on the land of the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi people and acknowledge that the Menominee, Ho-Chunk, Miami, Peoria, and Sac and Fox Tribal Nations also call this area home. We further acknowledge that the enslavement of people of African descent as well as Indigenous peoples occurred in Illinois and colonial Jesuits were active participants in this history. As Psychologists, we further acknowledge the major role that psychology has played in promotion of “scientific racism”—the use of scientific concepts and empirical evidence to justify an enduring racially based hierarchy. Psychologists have engaged in a 50+ year enabling of the eugenics movement, promoted the idea of intellectual inferiority of Black people to support segregation during the Civil Rights Movement, and endorsed the notion that racial differences in crime and intelligence had biological, hereditary bases. These racist foundations continue to impact psychology today and there remains much to do to decolonize the field of psychology and dismantle racism and eurocentrism.
The Department of Psychology is committed to anti-racism and decolonization within and outside of the field of psychology. Our hope is that as we come together as part of a Jesuit institution of higher learning in Illinois, we can become a community that acknowledges the systems that have created and continue to uphold white supremacy, engage in shared and active antiracism learning/unlearning, and contribute to the dismantling of oppression within and outside our labs, courses, and broader field of psychology. We specifically condemn anti-Black racism and police brutality, which have led to the murders of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery among a myriad of other Black Americans. We are sickened by the mass shooting that killed six Asian women and two others in Atlanta on March 16th, 2021 and the deeply ingrained bigotry and racism against Asian Americans that motivated it. The names of the individuals who lost their lives should not be forgotten: Delaina Ashley Yaun, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Soon Chung Park, Yong Ae Yue, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, and Paul Andre Michels. We recognize that racism takes many forms and pervades numerous areas of academia and education that we seek to address. We must be aware of our own complacency, unearned privilege, and power within society that advantages those who are seen as White. We are committed to identifying and dismantling any practices that may contribute to the continuation of racism and white supremacy. We are committed to providing an environment for every student and faculty member to pursue their academic excellence. Furthermore, we aim to create a culture that advocates for, acts in solidarity with, and importantly does not burden BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color). We recognize that this work is complex, difficult, and exacting, and we will strive to keep one another accountable throughout this process. The field of psychology has extensively researched the impacts of racism on the health and well-being of students and faculty. Our own department, among many others, explores methods to confront prejudice and racism. Yet, we must actively apply these principles to our programming, pedagogy, and interactions. It is not enough to not be racist; we must be anti-racist in order to acknowledge and change the history of pain and strike out this plague within our country and higher education. There is much to be done to further racial justice, and we are committed to the following steps to help us accomplish this goal:
We view this as a living, breathing document to be reevaluated at least annually—nothing here is etched in stone. Psychology views Anti-Racism as a process, not an end. White faculty and staff members in particular need to lead this effort rather than members of marginalized groups—there is a lot of work to be done and it is unfair to ask People of Color who did not create the problems do the “heavy lifting.” We are committed to developing metrics to assess progress towards diversity, equity, and creation of an inclusive environment. Without a results-based set of change initiatives, statements like this consist of little more that well-meaning platitudes and empty promises.
A. Department Organization and Climate
The Department of Psychology is committed to centering discussion and action toward anti-racism as well as broader issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Accordingly, we have dedicated time and effort in the following ways:
1. The Department of Psychology Committee on Diversity Affairs (CODA) is committed to continuing to host events that further our understanding and action related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. This includes co-sponsoring an interdisciplinary monthly seminar series entitled Racial (In)Justice in cooperation with Sociology and Criminal Justice and Criminology on various topics related to the consequences of poverty, racism, health disparities, police brutality, and mass incarceration of BIPOCs. The Department of Psychology is committed to prioritizing support for CODA through funding and graduate assistantship time.
2. The Department and each program (Clinical, Developmental, Social) is committed to regular meetings that include ongoing discussions about action items regarding anti-racism, diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice for their respective subsections of the psychology field. This effort began with a department-wide peace circle on racial justice in summer 2020. Both departmental (Racial Justice Examen Committee) and program-specific (e.g., Diversifying Clinical Psychology Committee) initiatives are dedicated to continuing to center these efforts in the department.
B. Assessment and Accountability
The Department of Psychology prioritizes anti-racism efforts as part of the professional development of its members. Thus, clear expectations and accountability measures are outlined that will enhance the academic and professional contributions of the members of the Department of Psychology.
1. Faculty and graduate student contributions, assessment, and accountability: Faculty will report annually on their intentional efforts and work completed to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, to be reviewed by the Department Chair, the College of Arts and Sciences Dean, and the University Provost. This shall become part of the annual review process used by the Department and College to formally evaluate faculty and is being considered as part of faculty members’ tenure and promotion portfolio. Similarly, graduate students’ intentional efforts and work completed in these same areas will be reviewed annually and acknowledged by each student’s academic advisor and the entire program-specific (clinical, developmental, social) faculty. This is intended both to (a) acknowledge this important work in summarizing each faculty member’s and graduate student’s contributions to their program, department, and field, and (b) promote continuous personal/professional growth and development in this area.
2. Grievance procedures: As part of an open, and honest working environment focused on equity, the Department of Psychology will address grievances related to racism to its departmental members and the larger community. This encourages us to be accountable for our actions. We commit to reviewing and revising our grievance procedures for safe and effective ways to share feedback that is accessible to the larger community. Information on these procedures will be shared in orientations for new Loyola community members and outlined in faculty and graduate student handbooks.
C. Recruitment and Retention
The Department of Psychology is committed to recruiting, accepting/hiring, and retaining graduate students and faculty of color, and more broadly students and faculty representing diverse backgrounds and identities.
1. Faculty hiring: To achieve diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in faculty hiring:
- Faculty serving on search committees will undergo strategic hiring training, including anti-bias training offered through Academic Affairs as part of Loyola’s Anti-Racism Initiative.
- Search committees will include a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Liaison from the broader Loyola community, who will observe the search and selection process to ensure it is bias free and promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.
- The department invites all graduate students to participate in the faculty selection process, including attending job talks, and submitting their evaluations and ratings of faculty applicant finalists.
- The search committee will also include advanced (e.g., fourth year) graduate students who will participate in file review and evaluation, and selection of candidates for interviews. This allows students to have a voice in faculty recruitment and hold search committees accountable for realizing diversity among our faculty.
2. Graduate student admissions: To achieve diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism in graduate student recruitment and retention, the Department of Psychology:
Is reviewing admissions requirements and redesigning how applications are reviewed. For example, the Clinical program has dropped the GRE as an admissions requirement, a financial barrier for many students and known for bias against students of color, low-income, first-generation college students, and women.
All programs in the Department of Psychology are committed to continuously conducting reviews of curriculum to ensure anti-racist training and scholarship. In order to accomplish this goal, the Department of Psychology has established the following initiatives:
1. Syllabus Review Guide. All department faculty and graduate students teaching will make use of a consultation guide to create and revise course syllabi. Specifically, this guide will outline step-by-step recommendations for inclusion of anti-racist teachings and inclusion across syllabi. This guide will also encourage faculty to conduct mid-semester feedback in order to ensure accountability and ongoing reflection of course content.
2. Redesign undergraduate major requirements: A Diversity and Inclusion component has been added as a requirement for completion of the Psychology major. Undergraduate student majors are required to complete one course to fulfill this requirement.
3. Continue graduate course requirements. All graduate students in the clinical, social, and developmental programs should be required to take diversity-related courses to complete their training.
E. Research and Practice
1. Research: Programs will consider the ways in which their research areas promote anti-racism and more broadly diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice. Numerous research labs committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion are affiliated with CODA. Additionally, research labs will continue to make conscious efforts to prioritize social justice and anti-racism as part of their lab meeting structure. Specifically, some labs choose to integrate group discussion of culturally relevant research articles that focus on marginalized communities. This provides opportunities for in-depth learning and awareness within lab teams. In addition, several labs have developed anti-racism, diversity, and/or social justice statements that they share through their websites. Within these statements, the labs are recognizing their efforts in research to support equity.
2. Practical and applied work:
Faculty will continue to include training in cultural humility and culturally responsive modifications of evidence-based practice in student clinical training and research with human subjects. Additionally, program-wide colloquium events will continue to be offered as additional avenues of information for culturally responsive clinical and research practices.
Community collaboration. Many labs do work to build bridges between their research and the broader community. Efforts to partner with the community will be prioritized and acknowledged in the annual review process (e.g., giving talks to local community organizations, raising awareness and funding for social justice causes, establishing community programs or interventions). Research labs are encouraged to share their findings in meaningful ways outside of the academic context of Loyola University Chicago.
 Possible measurables are diversity gaps in student enrollment and more importantly student graduation rates at Loyola; diversity gaps in faculty recruitment and retention, diversity gaps in administrative staff and administrative leaders. Campus climate surveys should be administered to assess the extent to which BIPOC students, faculty, and staff members feel a sense of “belonging” at Loyola University Chicago. The level of financial support for the new Institute of Racial Justice and the Anti-Racist Initiative will be an important indicator of the university’s commitment to be an Anti-Racist institution.