Commitment to Diversity

 The members of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Psychology are committed to fostering and supporting a climate of inclusion, celebrating human diversity in all its forms, and engaging in cutting edge diversity science. Our commitment to diversity reflects the stated values and mission of the University of Illinois.

The Psychology Department of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign values and aspires to embrace human diversity and inclusion. The department defines diversity very broadly. Diversity refers to individual and social group differences including, but not limited to, learning styles, life experiences, race, ethnicity, country of origin, class, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, parental status, ability, and health, as well as cultural, religious, political and other affiliations. 

Inclusion refers to "the active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity--in the curriculum, in the co-curriculum, and in communities (intellectual, social, cultural, geographical) with which individuals might connect--in ways that increase awareness, content knowledge, cognitive sophistication, and empathic understanding of the complex ways individuals interact within systems and institution" (American Association of Colleges and Universities).

We seek to create an inclusive and diverse faculty and student body: first as a matter of fairness and dignity, second because it is vital to each of our learning and work, and third because it is critical to the development of research and practice in our field. Research indicates that people from diverse backgrounds working together identify more creative solutions to problems than people working in more homogenous groups. Thus, increased diversity encourages everyone on campus to think in more creative and innovative ways. This in turn enhances several important functions of the campus, including the production of ground-breaking research designed to address pressing societal needs and the training of future leaders to effectively work within increasingly diverse and global settings. Diversity is strength, and with it comes excellence.

Our commitment to diversity means we:

  • Seek ongoing development in our awareness of and capacity to think critically about diversity issues, recognizing that such work never ends; in part because of the dynamic nature of social identities and categories and the dynamic nature of the language and definitions we employ;
  • Respect that each of us is at a different place in this process;
  • Seek to scaffold support for all members' continued growth;
  • Strive to understand how history, power, and privilege shape our thinking and engagement;
  • Acknowledge the implicit and explicit challenges that members of minority and marginalized groups face in navigating academic settings that historically were designed without them in mind;
  • Seek to recognize, label and challenge dominant narratives, social norms, and structures that underlie intentional and unintentional harms or bias, including educational policies and practices;
  • Believe that thoughtful and critical engagement with diversity is necessary to achieve competence in any of the core domains of psychology (ethics, research, teaching, assessment, intervention, supervision, consultation);
  • Embrace our own individual responsibility for engaging diversity in each of these domains;
  • Work to restore or put right the unavoidable conflicts and harms that occur among members of our diverse program;
  • Approach engagement in a spirit of humility, empathy, openness to inquiry, honest dialogue, and self-reflection.

We aspire to create a truly pluralistic environment in our pursuit of academic and scholarly excellence.

Anti-Racism Action Plan

As part of the University of Illinois Psychology Department's commitment to supporting an anti-racist agenda, we have pledged to implement several specific actions to acknowledge, address, and dismantle racism within the academic structures in which we work. Please read our Action Plan for the current steps to which we have committed.

We also acknowledge that this work is a life-long and ongoing process. Readers are encouraged to check back as this document evolves to meet the current needs of our community. The Department shares actions and updates relevant to expanding and supporting diversity through an annual Diversity Newsletter.