Diversity

diversity and psychology club group photo

The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Massachusetts is strongly committed to the support and promotion of cultural diversity within the university and surrounding community. Cultural diversity encompasses differences and similarities in race, ethnicity, social class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and age. Within the department, attention and sensitivity to diversity issues are fostered in course offerings, undergraduate programs, faculty and graduate student research, and clinical practice. A core aspect of awareness and appreciation for diversity is that it promotes respect for others. Diversity is especially valued and encouraged in the student body, faculty, and staff because it enriches both educational experiences and the translation of psychological knowledge into practice.

Diversity News

The Boltwood Project helps 'Spread the Word'

group of students smiling at table in campus center

The Boltwood Project, Best Buddies, Special Olympics and Autism Speaks banded together to help spread the word about inclusion on March 6th, "Spread the Word" Day. They worked together to help people take the pledge supporting the cause. Spread the Word is a Special Olympics organization that began their mission to end the use of the r-word. They have now expanded their mission to spreading inclusion, both in language and in society. UMass students will continue to help spread this message through the above organizations.

Tropp cited in toolkit for educators cultivating diverse classrooms

children drawing and cutting paper in classroom

The Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank conducting research on the benefits of diverse classrooms, has developed a toolkit "Fostering Intergroup Contact in Diverse Schools: Strategies for Educators" based on the classification of intergroup contact outlined by Linda Tropp and Suchi Saxena, a consultant at the Silverman Center of Brandeis University. The toolkit focuses on methods of integrating students across race and class, and developing supportive relationships.

Understanding human behavior

leaves changing colors from green to orange

New institute provides fresh approach to the science of diversity

Human diversity is complex. It originates from factors such as biology, psychology, economics, and history that influence every facet of human experience—from health and work to education and environment—in ways that may confer advantages or disadvantages on people’s lives. Research on the science of human diversity is just as complex, residing in different departments, schools, and colleges and across disciplines. Bringing the players together from across campus and encouraging interdisciplinary efforts is the intent of the UMass Institute of Diversity Sciences

Faculty Profile: Lisa Harvey

lisa harveyThe bright minds of students at UMass Amherst drive Lisa Harvey to tackle challenging questions about our world and never stop learning.

As a professor of clinical psychology, she guides students through the scientific process, discovering new ways to collectively learn from each other. Harvey’s love for children combined with her passion for research led her to study the early development and treatment of behavior disorders like ADHD. Her clinical research covers a wide span of topics, as she strives to make a positive impact on the lives of children and their families.

Faculty Group to Study Organizational Success of Eureka! Program

girls working together looking at computer screenFive faculty members in the colleges of Education, Natural Sciences and Social and Behavioral Sciences have received a two-year, $299,271 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the components of a successful multi-organizational partnership designed to promote girls’ participation in higher education and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

Familiarity breeds tolerance: Linda Tropp honored for influential ‘contact theory’ analysis

Linda Tropp, psychological and brain sciences, and her group of researchers spent over five years “trying to find every study on intergroup contact we could,” she says. 

Contact theory is a social psychology idea that suggests that contact between social groups (such as racial and ethnic groups) can be an effective strategy for reducing intergroup prejudice. This theory maintains that contact, under certain conditions, between two or more social groups can promote tolerance. If groups are allowed to communicate with one another, they may start to appreciate each other's viewpoints.  

Resources, Relationships, and Recognition Encourage Faculty Collaboration and Equity

Nilanjana Dasgupta part of interdisciplinary team building new paths for equity and inclusion in STEM fields.

The National Science Foundation has awarded a coveted ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant to UMass Amherst to support the development of an innovative professional advancement model for underrepresented faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Jennifer M. McDermott Appointed Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Jennifer McDermottJennifer M. McDermott has been appointed the first College of Natural Sciences (CNS) Director of Diversity and Inclusion for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. In this new role, McDermott work with Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars and collaborate with the Assistant Dean for Inclusion and Engagement in the Graduate School to promote the CNS Vision for Diversity and Inclusion.

Linda Tropp Publishes New Social Science Research Demonstrating the Importance of Diversity in Classrooms

"Schools remain one of the few social institutions that have the potential to bring youth together across racial and ethnic lines. New social science research demonstrates the importance of fostering sustained interracial contact between youth in order to prepare them to thrive in a multiracial society. This brief aims to summarize much of this new evidence, with special attention to its practical implications for the social relations and contexts within schools."

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