Bethany A. Teachman
Professor of Psychology | Director of Clinical Training
What have you done to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the Psychology department?
I have been fortunate to work with a great team to introduce an annual Diversifying Psychology Visit Day and summer research program for talented students from underrepresented backgrounds to spend time in the department. I’ve also written and received multiple grants to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (e.g., to fund psychology graduate student Directors of Diversity and Inclusion who have been outstanding collaborators on this work). We have tried to increase opportunities for learning about racial injustice and ways to support members of our community from traditionally marginalized groups (e.g., through bringing in speakers, discussions at area lunches, readings). We have also sought to make the department more inclusive by creating different avenues for students, staff, and faculty to raise concerns and ideas (e.g., through regular town halls and an anonymous feedback mechanism). I am learning a lot from the students and working with great collaborators, and look forward to growing the impact of this work.
What are some of the biggest challenges you face in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion? What motivates you to persist in the face of these challenges?
There are times when it has been difficult to engage more colleagues to join the work so there are concerns that the work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion falls on a very small number of students and faculty (often persons of color), which adds invisible labor and burden. As a person with a lot of privilege, I am thankful for the opportunity to work with outstanding students, staff and faculty who reflect inclusive excellence and add so much value to our department as phenomenal researchers, teachers, mentors, students, advocates, and people. I am continuing to learn and grow in my ability to support diversity, equity, and inclusion and am motivated to keep working toward these goals, both because I believe it is the right thing to do and because all members of our community benefit when this environment is a welcoming and supportive one.
Why are you committed to excellence to diversity, equity, and inclusion? What do you hope to accomplish through your efforts?
I hope that, over time, I and others will become better able to recognize and change the systems we are part of that maintain systemic oppression. I hope that through those efforts we will move toward being a more inclusive environment that celebrates diversity. While this work starts in our homes, labs, and department, my hope is that this work also helps to change the field of psychology so that psychological science can better contribute to addressing societal problems.
What advice would you give to others who are considering getting involved with efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion?
Keep showing up. We all sometimes make mistakes and say the ‘wrong’ thing, but keep trying. Caring enough to keep trying, keep reading, keep listening, keep taking steps to be anti-racist, and keep being open to feedback can make a big difference.