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Diversity Matters

The Institute of Child Development embraces the University of Minnesota's position that promoting and supporting diversity broadly is central to our mission. We believe that we have a responsibility to serve, support, and partner with people and communities facing social, cultural, economic, physical, and attitudinal barriers to education and jobs, to promotion and advancement, and to the highest levels of achievement and success. We have a responsibility to address fundamental issues of bias, discrimination, and exclusion.

In declaring that diversity is a core value, we dedicate ourselves to building a culture of excellence that is grounded in principles of equity and social justice and that fundamentally affirms and embraces the multiple identities, values, perspectives, knowledge and belief systems, and cultural practices of diverse individuals and communities. Diversity is fundamental to everything we do at ICD and the University of Minnesota.

What do we mean by diversity?

We strive for an inclusive and equitable environment that celebrates diversity in:

  • Race and ethnicity, including underrepresented individuals and new immigrant populations;
  • both visible and invisible disabilities;
  • various gender and sexual identities and expressions;
  • Socio-economic status, including first-generation students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Diversity in our Research

Many faculty members in our department deal with issues of diversity in their research. Some examples are:

  • Stephanie Carlson examines socio-cultural influences on cognitive development and executive function in early childhood.
  • Dante Cicchetti investigates the impact of child maltreatment and traumatic experiences on development.
  • Jed Elison examines individual differences during the infant and toddler period and identifying risk factors for autism.
  • Abigail Gewirtz leads the After Deployment: Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT) project working on tools to support parenting and resilience among military families, and studies resilience in children who have experienced trauma.
  • Megan Gunnar investigates stress and emotion regulation, particularly in children with a history of deprived care (primarily those adopted to the U.S. from international orphanages).
  • Canan Karatekin focuses on the alleviation of adverse childhood experiences, in particular seeking to bridge the gap between academic research and actual practice in the child welfare system.
  • Ann Masten studies competence, risk and resilience in the face of adversity, with special focus on families experiencing homelessness, migration, disaster, or war.
  • Arthur Reynolds examines the effects of early childhood intervention in high-risk populations on later educational, economic and family outcomes.
  • Maria Sera investigates the relationship between language and cognitive development, with a focus on a variety of languages as well as the acquisition of English as a second language.
  • Phil Zelazo examines the development and neural bases of executive function utilizing a variety of approaches including cross-cultural investigations.


Chart of Twin Cities, UMN, CEHD, and ICD diversity

Quick facts

  • In addition to the racial/ethnic diversity shown above, of the students enrolled in the ICD Ph.D. program between 2006 and 2015, 9.76% were First Generation College Students, and 7.32% had visible or invisible disabilities.
  • Of the students who enrolled in the ICD Ph.D. program between 2006 and 2015 in non-white racial/ethnic categories, in the First Generation College Student category, and in the visible or invisible disabilities category, 100% either graduated or are still completing the program.
  • ICD has the distinction of granting the first-ever Ph.D. in any field of psychology to an African-American female, Dr. Ruth Howard Beckham, in 1934.

Funding and Other Opportunities for Students

Tri-Psych Graduate Student Diversity Fund
The Tri-Psychology programs—Educational Psychology, Psychology, and the Institute of Child Development—at the University of Minnesota are deeply committed to supporting underrepresented students in the psychological sciences. Together, we strive to create welcoming, affirming, and inclusive spaces and seek to foster respectful exchanges of ideas that allow us to embrace the power of diverse perspectives and backgrounds to enrich us all.

The goal of this award is to build community and facilitate cross-departmental collaborations among tri-psych graduate students of color and/or student groups otherwise underrepresented in postsecondary education. We seek innovative proposals that provide opportunities to encourage and support your fellow students, gain insights from your shared and differing experiences, and build stronger relationships across departments. View more information and application instructions.

Diversity of Views and Experience (DOVE) fellowship
A fellowship administered by the U of M Office for Diversity in Graduate Education (OGDE) that is awarded to approximately 20 first-year students from underrepresented groups (U.S. citizens or permanent residents). The fellowship provides a living stipend, tuition, and subsidized health insurance for one academic year.

Common Ground Consortium in the College of Education and Human Development
The Common Ground Consortium (CGC) is a program that develops proactive and collaborative Black intellectual leaders of education and human development whose focus is to impact and transform the university, greater communities, and world. The CGC supports 8-10 Black graduate students per year in their full-time studies in the college. The CGC supports educators training to become future tenure-track faculty as well as practitioner-scholars in many fields of education and human development.

The Graduate and Professional Scholarly Excellence in Equity and Diversity (SEED) Awards
This SEED award honors graduate and professional students at University of Minnesota whose research and scholarly interest are focused on issues of equity, diversity, and/or social justice, and who demonstrate outstanding creativity, innovation, and potential for scholarly and/or professional excellence in their discipline or field. Awardees must demonstrate experience with or commitment to serving or working with underserved, underrepresented, or marginalized populations.

Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship
The Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties. This fellowship provides 3 years of support for doctoral students and are made to individuals who have demonstrated superior academic achievement and are committed to a career in teaching and research at the college or university level and are well prepared to use diversity as a resource.

American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program: Predoctoral Fellowship in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (MHSAS)
This fellowship provides financial support, renewable annually up to three years to support the training of practitioners in behavioral health services and prevention. The fellowship is designed for students in clinical, counseling, or school psychology and applicants must have a strong commitment to a career in ethnic minority behavioral health services or policy.

Society for Research in Child Development opportunities for students from diverse populations:
Asian Caucus to support the career development of Asian researchers, and promote research with Asian children, youth, and families
Black Caucus, which publishes a Newsletter three times per year and holds a preconference immediately prior to the SRCD Biennial Meeting.
Latino Caucus is comprised of a group of child development researchers dedicated to engaging in and disseminating high quality research with Latino children, youth, and families.
Millennium Scholars Program is a vehicle to encourage and support scholars from underrepresented ethnic/racial groups from North American in pursuing graduate work in developmental science. The program provides educational and professional development, mentorship from advanced graduate students and early career scholars in the field, participation in pre-conference and conference training events as well as a registration fee waiver, reimbursement for travel expenses, and paid housing to attend the biennial meeting.

Resources and Groups on Campus

The following list highlights some of the resources available for students here in the College of Education and Human Development and the University of Minnesota:

Diversity in Psychology Program

October 11–13, 2017

ICD is pleased to support the 3rd Annual Diversity in Psychology Program at the University of Minnesota (UMN).

The program is sponsored by the UMN Department of Psychology and the College of Liberal Arts with support from ICD and the Department of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development.

The Diversity in Psychology Program is designed for individuals who are historically under-represented in psychology graduate programs and who are interested in learning about graduate training in psychology, child psychology, and educational/school psychology at the University of Minnesota.

The program features a coordinated set of formal and informal experiences designed to familiarize participants with strategies for constructing successful graduate school applications, and to provide them with the opportunity to learn more about the experience of graduate education in UMN psychology departments.

To be eligible to apply, individuals must:

  • be enrolled in a college or university as a junior or senior, or who have graduated within the last two years (i.e., 2015 or thereafter). Individuals currently enrolled in a terminal masters-level graduate program in psychology are also eligible.
  • identify as a member of groups underrepresented in graduate training in psychology, including ethnic and racial minority groups, low-income backgrounds, persons with disability, LGBTQ+, military veterans, and first-generation college students or graduates.

Individuals must also meet one of the following criteria:

  • be committed to pursuing doctoral training in either child psychology or educational/school psychology. OR
  • be committed to pursuing doctoral training in psychology in one of the following programs of research offered by the Department of Psychology: clinical science and psychopathology; counseling psychology; cognitive and brain sciences; industrial/organizational psychology; personality, individual differences, and behavior genetics; quantitative psychology/psychometric methods; or social psychology.

Learn more and apply.


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Hear From Students

Featured Doctoral Students

Michelle Brown works to improve outcomes for victimized children and families

Amanda Hodel researches the neurobiology of child development

Featured Alumni

Janette Herbers
Assistant Professor Janette Herbers conducts research to understand developmental processes of resilience in children who experience risks such as trauma, poverty, and homelessness.

Rebecca Shlafer
Assistant Professor Rebecca Shlafer partnered with Sesame Street Workshop to lead the dissemination of new resources for children and families impacted by incarceration in Minnesota.

Nim Tottenham
Assistant Professor Nim Tottenham examines the development of brain systems involved in human emotional development to understand how these systems are influenced by early adverse environments.