Diversity is an evolving concept that includes, but is not limited to, differences based on: ability (cognitive and physical), age, language, socioeconomic status, gender (expression, identity, and roles), ethnicity, race, religion, political ideology, marital status, cultural values and beliefs, personal values, cultural background, and sexual orientation. The School Psychology program at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities endorses the following mission with respect to multiculturalism and diversity:
Our mission concerns the fundamental rights, dignity, and worth of all people, and our goal is to achieve a climate that honors and respects all individuals . In order to create such a climate, the program promotes cultural mindfulness and self-reflection, and encourages students to seek knowledge on topics related to diversity. Within an ecological framework, the School Psychology program promotes multiculturalism at the individual, group, and systems-level. Our mission reiterates the University of Minnesota’s Graduate School commitment to promoting cultural diversity. In alignment with the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Practice Model and the American Psychological Association’s (APA) core values, we strive to foster knowledge of diversity multicultural research, and evidence-based practice related to diversity.
Our mission reiterates NASP’s nondiscrimination and equal opportunity policy and APA’s Guidelines on Multicultural Education, Training, Research, Practice, and Organizational Change for Psychologists.
This mission provides the framework for the following program goals and objectives:
- To attract, recruit, and foster success for students and faculty members from various backgrounds.
- To build a “safe space” characterized by mutual respect, sensitivity, and inclusion in which all individuals are valued for their active contributions to the learning community.
- To provide students with sufficient exposure in both breadth and depth to issues of diversity and perspectives on controversial issues that permeate all aspects of School Psychology training as a scientist-practitioner, including but not limited to: research, assessment, intervention, field work/practicum, and internship.
- To initiate and maintain positive cross-departmental and cross-disciplinary relationships with surrounding groups and communities, both academic and non-academic (e.g., seeking and providing opportunities for tailored practica, graduate assistantships, and internships that fit unique student interests).
- To maintain an active student-led School Psychology Diversity Committee with ongoing program activities, such as regularly scheduled Diversity Dialogue Sessions, in order to instill in students and faculty critical thinking skills, conflict resolution skills, and general problem-solving skills relevant for both research and practice.
- To translate knowledge of multicultural and diverse issues into observable program efforts and actions.
- To communicate and encourage opportunities for professional development on diverse issues, including events (i.e., workshops, conferences) hosted by the Minnesota School Psychologists Association (MSPA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the American Psychological Association (APA), University courses offered across various departments, and opportunities advertised by the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) or surrounding local education agencies (LEAs).
- To regularly evaluate progress made towards the previously mentioned goals through program climate surveys, and create and sustain an open system of communication that invites students and faculty to voice concerns, suggestions, and recommendations related to the program’s diversity mission.