Call to Action: Our Enduring Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Belongingness

The Department of Psychology values diversity, inclusion, and belonging, and we are continually working toward building and maintaining a culture that is consistent with these values. We investigate complex research questions around human development, cognition, social phenomena, and psychopathology and recognize the critical need for diverse perspectives to comprehensively and ethically approach these research domains. We believe that diversity improves the breadth and depth of our empiricism by inspiring new questions, techniques, perspectives, and possibilities. Indeed, we believe that it benefits us all to actively and intentionally promote diversity, inclusion, and belonging within our community, and beyond, wherever we have an impact. We fully endorse the primary propositions of the Harvard University Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging (HUPTFIB), which assert that our University – and we believe our Department – will only achieve its full academic and scientific potential by:

1. “Recruiting from the broadest possible pool of exceptional talent;”
  • We strongly encourage applications for all positions (research and administrative staff, students, post-docs, faculty) from individuals of diverse backgrounds, including those from marginalized and historically disadvantaged backgrounds. We believe that only by including and embracing those from a diversity of backgrounds, including but not limited to: races, ethnicities, cultures, gender-expressions, sexual identities, religious beliefs, political affiliations, socioeconomic levels, age, citizenship and refugee status, disability status, military/veteran service history, and other individual differences will we achieve the ideal of inclusive excellence: “the rich and varied forms of excellence that can emerge from that diversity” (HUPTFIB, A24).
2. “Supporting the flourishing of all members of the campus community, regardless of background;”
  • Eliminating Impediments to Thriving: We believe it is insufficient only to recruit a diverse community of scholars. Beyond that, we are also determined to actively dismantle the many systemic barriers that exist to impede thriving for underrepresented minority members of our community. For example, we implore all members of our community to actively and continuously confront discrimination that, if left unchallenged, proves detrimental to the underrepresented minority members who are so integral to our community. Further, we strive to eliminate any insidious Departmental practices and expectations that impede the work and harm the wellbeing of our community members (e.g., this includes reliance on culturally-biased curricula and tests, and the under-representation of faculty, students, and staff from diverse backgrounds).
  • Actively Creating a Culture of Flourishing: We recognize that removing obstacles is only half of the fight; in addition, we strive to include all members of our community in all available opportunities, resources, and decision-making practices. As such, we aim to ensure that all members of our community experience a sense of belonging: the objective and subjective experience of being a fully appreciated member of the Departmental and University communities. We believe that when an individual is respected and valued, they are more likely to flourish, and thus, it is critical to create and sustain support for all members of our community. Further, we acknowledge that success looks different for everyone. As such, we aim to help all members of our community to develop in ways that fulfill them.
3. “Developing pedagogic and mentoring strategies that simultaneously uphold the principle of academic freedom and advance a culture of mutual respect and concern;”
  • Harvard’s core ideal is the “free and inclusive pursuit of knowledge” (HUPTFIB, p. 25). To achieve this, we believe that we must consistently and diligently work to uphold both the free sharing of academic ideas (including those with which we may disagree) and a culture of mutual respect, concern for, and engagement with those with whom we may disagree. These disagreements can have an inequitable cost to those from socially disadvantaged and marginalized backgrounds. Therefore, we as a Department strive to provide structure and support for our community members, and particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, to respectfully engage with these topics without incurring a personal or professional toll. To this end, we are actively working to develop and hone our approaches to mentoring, teaching, and research to best support all members of our community, particularly underrepresented minorities.
4. “Conveying through its symbols how these aspirations, which rest on recognition of basic human dignity, both grow from and transcend our history.”
  • We are committed to making Harvard open and accessible to people from a wide diversity of backgrounds, and this should be reflected in our shared spaces and communications. We recognize that our Department, and academia broadly, has a history of excluding various populations such as underrepresented minorities, which has resulted in low representation and support for these groups. As such, the Department is determined to recruit, actively support, and promote the career development of underrepresented minorities. While acknowledging the legacy of the University and our Department, we aim to create a new legacy by showcasing the excellence of our present and future communities, who will help us to achieve an even better Department, University, and society.