Diversity in the Department of Psychological Science

The Department of Psychological Science values and is committed to fostering a climate that advances diversity, inclusivity, respect, and social justice.  Understanding individual and group differences, beliefs, values, and behaviors is core to psychological science.  We believe that diverse perspectives, especially those from historically underrepresented groups, enhance our ability to meet our department mission in the areas of teaching, research, and service.

Our values are evident in our goals to: 

  • Integrate diversity-related content into our curriculum;
  • Provide opportunities for high-quality scholarship in diversity science; and
  • Increase recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff from historically underrepresented backgrounds.

A Campus Committed to Diversity

Beyond the department, the entire University of Arkansas is committed to enhancing educational and professional diversity by seeking to integrate individuals from varied backgrounds and characteristics, including members of historically underrepresented groups.  The University believes that enhancing diversity and providing an educational and work environment in which thought, creativity, and growth are stimulated is critical to its mission of helping individuals to realize their full potential through equal opportunity (see diversity.uark.edu).

Many faculty in the Department of Psychological Science are involved in research related to diversity (for more details, see individual faculty pages or the listing of labs on the research experience page).  For instance, Dr. Behrend’s lab has investigated trust and social preference for native vs. accented speakers in monolingual and bilingual preschool aged children.  Dr. Lampinen’s lab examined how eyewitness testimony accuracy is impacted by same-race vs. different-race identifications.  Dr. Eidelman’s lab examines multicultural and colorblind ideologies, prejudice and stereotype, and White privilege.  Dr. Leen-Feldner’s lab examines developmental processes that relate to anxiety disorder onset in puberty.  Dr. Bridges’s lab researches health and mental health disparities in underserved populations, especially Latino immigrants.  Dr. Cavell’s investigates interventions for bullied children in ethnically diverse schools.  Dr. Forscher researches social disparities and what to do about them. As such, all his research is connected in some way to why and how different social groups become represented in different strata in society. Dr. Lindsay Ham's research program includes a focus on sociocultural factors that could promote or protect against alcohol misuse and alcohol-related sexual aggression. This work has focused on the role of acculturation, gender norms and roles, and the intersection between culture, gender, and norms about drinking behaviors and sexual aggression. Dr. Dopp’s lab examines strategies to increase accessibility of evidence-based treatments for children and families, especially for underserved groups such as racial/ethnic minority, low-income, and rural populations. Many of our graduate and undergraduate students conduct research (honors theses, independent projects, master’s theses, doctoral dissertations) that examine many aspects of diversity, including age, religion, race, ethnicity, language, poverty, gender, and sexual orientation.

The Department of Psychological Science at the University of Arkansas is actively engaged in activities to promote diversity and inclusivity within the department.  Specific initiatives the department has taken include:

  1. Establishing a Diversity Committee comprised of faculty and graduate students in both Experimental and Clinical programs whose task is to promote a climate of inclusivity across all domains of work in the Department of Psychological Science, including research, teaching, training and mentoring, engaging with colleagues, service and outreach activities, and clinical work;
  2. Conducting a diversity climate survey (conducted Spring 2016) with undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff to determine departmental strengths and identify areas for growth;
  3. Maintaining web-based resources for promoting inclusivity in recruitment and retention of students and faculty, teaching, and clinical work;
  4. Inviting eminent scholars to campus to give departmental colloquia on diversity related topics; and
  5. Coordinating a conference (held in Spring 2018) on diversity excellence in teaching and research.

As part of the department's commitment to creating an environment that values diversity and inclusiveness, we request applicants for tenure-track positions in the department submit a one-page diversity statement. Some useful guidelines for crafting such a statement can be found here. This statement should focus on how the applicant has or plans to foster inclusiveness, contribute to an equitable scholarly community, and help students from diverse backgrounds succeed.

Faculty representatives: Ana Bridges, Scott Eidelman, Lindsay Ham

Student representatives: Dulce Diaz Benitez, Amber Giacona, Nia Gipson, Linda Guzman, Stephanie Long, Anna Nguyen, Josh Upshaw

Login with your UARK username and password at learn.uark.edu, navigate to non-credit courses, and select “Department of Psychological Sciences Diversity Resources.”


Overwhelmingly, respondents saw the department as very respectful, open, and inclusive.  Members were proud to be affiliated with the department.  Department members are interested in issues of diversity.  Recruitment of more diverse students, especially at the graduate level, has been largely successful.

Areas of Growth

Greater infusion of diversity topics and courses in both undergraduate and graduate curricula; continued efforts to enhance recruitment of diverse students, faculty, and staff; additional training opportunities in teaching about diversity in an inclusive and respectful manner and incorporating diversity into clinical practice.

In 2016, the APA Committee on Accreditation (CoA) conducted a site visit and evaluation of the Clinical Psychology doctoral program in the department.  Part of that visit included an evaluation of the clinical psychology doctoral program’s objective to acquire and demonstrate sensitivity to and competence in issues of cultural and individual diversity in the science and practice of clinical psychology. Regarding diversity, the CoA report noted the program has made long-term and consistent efforts to attract and retain students and faculty with different backgrounds; in the past 7 years, more than 25% of enrolled students were from minority ethnic or racial backgrounds.  Students interviewed by the CoA site visit team noted they feel supported and respected by others in the department.  Review of core course syllabi indicated diversity topics are explicitly considered and readings were up to date and appropriate for the courses.