The Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice Committee (formerly the Ethnic and Cultural Diversity Committee) was created in 1990 by the Psychology Department to address issues of diversity, inclusion and social justice, especially as they relate to department graduate students, undergraduate students, faculty and staff in the areas of curriculum, recruitment, and retention.
In order to have more focused discussions and action items, we have four smaller working groups addressing issues and concerns related to DEI. The workgroups have been a main way in the last two years that we’ve moved forward our shared departmental values of diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Each workgroup develops a plan for what it will work on in the academic year and then meets regularly (e.g., monthly) to do the work.
Equity Workgroup 1: Departmental Equity
Purpose: Identifying the policies, practices, and culture that hinder marginalized groups from making progress in the department and proposing means to address these.
Equity Workgroup 2: Bias Disclosure
Purpose: We are excited to launch a pilot of a bias disclosure form where graduate students and faculty can safely share experiences of bias encountered and communicate this to a confidential ad-hoc committee. Our ultimate goal is to help department members gain awareness of biased behavior and make changes to facilitate a safe and inclusive environment for all our community members.
Progress: We are currently soliciting members to serve as on ad-hoc committee lasting one year to develop a pilot bias reporting tool which will serve as a starting point for facilitating restorative conversations. The fall semester will be used to develop the bias reporting tool and identify possible steps for facilitating restorative conversations. The tool will be launched during the spring semester and feedback will be collected along the way to improve the process in the future. Committee members will be encouraged to pursue restorative justice trainings offered at UMBC and externally.
Equity Workgroup 3: Social Justice Education for Faculty
Purpose: Educating and supporting faculty in skill development related to diversity, equity and inclusivity.
Progress: The progress we’ve made has centered around two initiatives. First, we developed and added three questions to the Spring 2022 SEEQ related to diversity, equity, and inclusivity. We relatedly worked with the faculty development center to provide support to faculty after they received their SEEQ evaluations. We also conducted a survey of faculty after they received SEEQ feedback to gauge if the information was helpful. Second, we developed and added descriptions to faculty promotion and tenure materials to operationally define what addressing diversity and learning differences means, which represent two different items on a rubric for how to evaluate a faculty’s teaching portfolio. Both of these initiatives involved presenting the proposed changes at a faculty meeting and revising materials as needed based on faculty feedback.
Equity Workgroup 4: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity Offerings
Purpose: Creating an improved Diversity Orientation and Diversity Topics seminar series.
Accomplishments Related to Diversity and Inclusivity
- Regular assessments of the climate of the department to examine our areas of strength and relative concerns.
- Annual speaker series for diversity education and annual training opportunities for faculty and graduate students.
- Large inclusive meeting where departmental community members share perceptions of the climate of our department and collaboratively brainstorm solutions.
- Regular ongoing inclusion consultation with Baltimore Racial Justice Action (BRJA)
Faculty Members: Elissa Abod, Erika Fountain, Lira Yoon, Mirela Cengher, Molly Franz, Dave Schultz
Graduate Students: Anika Aquino, Christa Lewis, Elaina McWilliams, Nicole Telfer, Jabarey Wells
Chair: Nkiru Nnawulezi