Diversity and Your Department

Resources for addressing diversity and inclusion


Case, K. A. (2011). The class interview: Student engagement in courses covering sensitive topics. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 10(1), 52-56. (PDF)

This short article describes activities that psychology classes can partake in during the first day of classes in order to loosen up and prepare students for tackling more sensitive topics. This article is especially recommended for professors teaching intro or lower level classes.

Domenech Rodríguez, M. M., & Bates, S. C. (2012). Aspiring to ethical treatment of diverse student populations. In R. E. Landrum, M. A. McCarthy, R. E. Landrum, & M. A. McCarthy (Eds.), Teaching ethically: Challenges and opportunities. (pp. 101-111). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. (PDF)

In this article, Domenech Rodríguez and Bates look at the challenges facing a teacher who wants to keep with the APA guidelines on diversity. They highlight the two ways an instructor can most successfully keep diversity a part of their courses: by making it a part of the course content, and by managing classroom discussion. This article is recommended for instructors who don't know where to start researching practical applications of diversity.

Dunn, D. S., Fisher, D. J., & Beard, B. M. (2013). Disability as diversity rather than (in)difference: Understanding others' experiences through one's own. In D. S. Dunn, R. A. R. Gurung, K. Z. Naufel & J. H. Wilson (Eds.), Controversy in the psychology classroom: Using hot topics to foster critical thinking. (pp. 209-223). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. (PDF)

In this essay, Dunn et al. advocate for the inclusion of disability studies into undergraduate psychology curriculums. They provide a working definition of disability and related terms and make a thorough case as to why disability should be studied in the psych classroom. This is recommended for all psychology professors.

Gharib, A., & Phillips, W. (2012). Assigning culture: An example of a cross-cultural assignment for teaching introductory psychology. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 11(3), 428-432. (PDF)

In this study, Gharib and Phillips advocate assigning books that discuss cross-cultural applications of psychology to foster a greater appreciation of multiculturalism in students. This is recommended for psychology professors building their syllabi.

Johnson, K. A., Okun, M. A., Benallie, M., & Pennak, S. (2010). American Indian students' difficulties in Introduction to Psychology. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 3(1), 27-42. (PDF)

While this study focuses on the struggles of American Indians in psychology classrooms, one could find helpful suggestions for all minorities in any classroom. Of particular interest is Johnson et al.'s strong reminder that one problem that minorities often face is that they find it hard to express their struggles to the instructor; this should push the instructor to be proactive and not wait for students to come to them with their issues.

Lott, B., & Rogers, M. R. (2011). Ethnicity matters for undergraduate majors in challenges, experiences, and perceptions of psychology. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 17(2), 204-210. (PDF)

This study mainly works to confirm the notion that minorities often find themselves excluded from the study of psychology. Where this article may be more useful is in its articulation of the many problems that minority students have with the existing system, and instructors may find some reasons here new and surprising.

McCarthy, M. A., & Landrum, R. E. (2013). Treating students as early-career professionals: The ethics of teaching. In D. S. Dunn, R. A. R. Gurung, K. Z. Naufel, J. H. Wilson, D. S. Dunn, R. A. R. Gurung, K. Z. Naufel, & J. H. Wilson (Eds.), Controversy in the psychology classroom: Using hot topics to foster critical thinking. (pp. 35-45). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. (PDF)

This document is an extremely useful step-by-step guide to successfully incorporating discussions of diversity into the classroom. It details such practices as writing a diversity mission statement for your course and discussing openly how tests are graded. This is recommended for all professors.

Pickren, W. E., & Burchett, C. (2014). Making psychology inclusive: A history of education and training for diversity in American psychology. In F. T. L. Leong, L. Comas-Díaz, G. C. Nagayama Hall, V. C. McLoyd & J. E. Trimble(Eds.), APA handbook of multicultural psychology, Vol. 2: Applications and training. (pp. 3-18). Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association. (PDF)

The first half of this article traces the ways in which discussions of diversity have appeared in the field of psychology over the past hundred years or so. In the second part of the article, Pickren and Burchett discuss how to best train students and professors to be ethically minded in the realm of diversity. This article is recommended for professors who are interested in some historical background of diversity and need some starting points to introducing multiculturalism into their classroom.

Sánchez, O., Chism, N. F. D. P., Serafini, K., & Judd, T. (2012). Empowering culturally diverse students within a collaborative learning community: A student perspective. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 11(3), 406-412. (PDF)

In this article, Sánchez et al. offer four simple suggestions for professors to follow in order to empower minority students in their classroom. They then explicate each suggestion in understandable terms. This article is helpful not only for professors just starting their engagement with diversity, but also those who have worked towards inclusivity for a while.