Historically, the majority of recognized scholarship in psychological science is based on the work of a subset of privileged individuals and has not adequately reflected contributions to the field by individuals from historically marginalized communities. The Department of Psychological Science at the University of Vermont acknowledges the limitations of our field and recognizes that diverse perspectives are essential for academic excellence. We strive to build a diverse and inclusive learning environment where all members of our community are treated with respect and dignity and where all individuals have equitable opportunity to participate, contribute, and succeed.

Department Goals Related to Social Justice, Equity, and Diversity

  • Incorporating an anti-racist lens into the program’s teaching philosophy, clinical training, and syllabi.
  • Fostering a culture that promotes inclusion, community, and critical reflexivity.
  • Increasing the percentage of underrepresented groups in department faculty and staff.
  • Improving recruitment and retention of graduate students from historically marginalized groups and underrepresented backgrounds in psychology.
  • Ensuring that historical racist practices – and their long-term negative impact – are given adequate time and attention in our curriculum.
  • Incorporating the work of BIPOC researchers, and a discussion of the historic (and current) barriers of entry to our field for BIPOC scholars into our teaching.
  • Encouraging our students to consider the implications of participant samples and perspectives limited to Western, white individuals – not just for the science itself, but also for how the science is applied.


Social Justice and Equity (SJE) Committee

Our department’s Social Justice and Equity (SJE) committee was developed to support departmental efforts to foster a culture that promotes inclusion, community, and an anti-racist lens in all aspects of our work. As part of this process, the overarching goal of the SJE committee works to understand and ameliorate structural issues within the department with the goal of promoting meaningful participation from diverse members of our department community in the areas of research, teaching, and clinical work.


SJE Committee Initiatives

Current and past SJE initiatives include the following:

  • Conducting a strengths and needs assessment with graduate students of color to better understand what initiates were necessary to support the professional development and overall well being of our students from historically marginalized backgrounds.
  • Identifying multiple speakers for department colloquia who were selected based on their ability to introduce globally historically marginalized perspectives and provide insight into the integration of social justice values into research, teaching, and clinical practice.
  • Working with department leaders to develop a library of resources to advance departmental education and provide resources on topics such as promoting anti-racism in graduate student education and training, racial trauma experienced by mental health professionals and clients, dealing with racism in therapy, and integrating global perspectives in teaching, research, and clinical practice.
  • Leading efforts to create a BIPOC student affinity space in the department to establish a safe space for BIPOC graduate students that will help address the social isolation that has disproportionately impacted our graduate students of color.
    • Why is this important?
      • This space is essential for fostering community and social support among students of color and providing a space for reflection on how BIPOC students’ unique experiences inform knowledge production and practice in a predominantly white field, institution, and community. The BIPOC affinity space will be led by graduate students in our department and will be a space where students can discuss systemic difficulties faced in the program, brainstorm about issues related to clinical and academic work, connect over shared interests and activities, provide emotional support, and formulate departmental suggestions improving social justice endeavors.
  • Seeking funding sources to ameliorate the disproportionate burden of hidden costs to participation in graduate education and professional development experienced by students from diverse backgrounds (e.g., therapy manuals, memberships to professional associations, internship preparation).


Resources for Mental Health Clinicians to Learn about Racial Stress and Trauma

Resources to Learn about Cultural Competency and Global Mental Health



University of Vermont Department of Psychological Science:

Link to PSYS Faculty and Graduate Student SharePoint Page (Anti-Racist Curriculum Initiative Resources - available only to Department of Psychological Science faculty and graduate students)

University of Vermont:

University of Vermont Medical Center:

Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion