The Social-Organizational Psychology Program at
Teachers College, Columbia University
Working Group on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Antiracism (DEIA)
Dear SOP Colleagues,
Extraordinarily difficult times require exceptional energy, effort, focus and leadership from us all.
In light of Teachers College Diversity Mission,
To establish Teachers College as an institution that actively attracts, supports and retains diverse students, faculty and staff at all levels, demonstrated through its commitment to social justice, its respectful and vibrant community and its encouragement and support of each individual in the achievement of their full potential.
And in response to the ongoing harm and injustices being inflicted on Black, Indigenous and People of Color in America, the faculty of the Social-Organizational Psychology Program at Teachers College are launching a working group focused on DEIA reform.
The aim of this one-year initiative is to systematically listen to members of our community – students, faculty, staff and alumni – and then reflect and act on concerns, challenges and opportunities for better promoting DEIA in our own program.
A central objective of this group is to eventually institutionalize this work as a core component of the in-role activities of all members of our community, and to establish a standing committee that will continue to take responsibility and provide accountability for promoting, measuring and reporting on this agenda.
The proposed process for this initiative is as follows:
- Establish a core team for the working group that will coordinate the initiative, which includes faculty, students, staff and alumni representatives from all of the subunits of the SOP program (PhD program, MA program, XMA, ELDP, MD-ICCCR). Invite volunteer members from each of the subunits of the program to join in support of the work.
- Investigate what is already working. Conduct a thorough inventory and assessment of DEIA activities that have been initiated in each of the SOP sub-units over the last 5-10 years. Assess whether they have had a positive impact.
- Document relevant courses and faculty and student scholarship on DEIA.
- Propose a multicultural curriculum audit of the course offerings in the SOP program.
- Identify who is recruited and supported in the SOP program. Work with the College to conduct a systematic review of employee hiring and promotion and student recruitment and funding trends by demographic groups over the last 5-10 years.
- Listen. Offer several avenues (student-led peer groups, town halls, surveys) to solicit input and feedback from all of our stakeholders regarding the DEIA climate, challenges and potential remedies.
- Generate unit-specific feedback reports. Based on the above data-collection methods, provide feedback reports to each of the subunits regarding the DEIA-relevant strengths, challenges and potential remedies.
- Support the generation of SMART action plans per unit. Facilitate a process for the generation of action plans per unit that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Include metrics of priority objectives.
- Generate annual reports on DEIA in the SOP. Make the reports publicly available to the entire community. Ensure the reports offer specific feedback and recommendations for reform to the Program and College leadership. Coordinate with TC’s Office for Diversity and Community Affairs to post on website.
We hope that you will join with us in this most important work at this crucial time.
The TC SOP Core Team of the DEIA Working Group
Molly Forgang (PhD program)
Stephanie von Numers (PhD program)
Ronald Taylor (MA program)
Varshini Srinivasan (MA program)
Joseph Dillard (XMA program)
Kelvin Riddle (ELDP program)
Danielle Coon (MD-ICCCR)
Jaspar Leahy (MD-ICCCR)
John Handal (SOP Program Manager)
Peter Coleman (Faculty Chair and Director, MD-ICCCR)
SOP Faculty Advisory Board
Debra Noumair, Director, SOP Program and XMA Program
Caryn Block, Director, PhD Program
Sarah Brazaitis, Director, MA Program
Gina Buontempo, Director, ELDP and BLDP
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