Diversity and Inclusion
The following statements were drafted by department members including faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and research staff. They were unanimously approved by the faculty.
The Boston College Department of Psychology and Neuroscience commits to the following
Hiring and Admissions
We resolve to increase the percentage of faculty members, postdocs, and graduate students from under-represented minority backgrounds. To that end, we will invest in recruiting, hiring, and admission practices to increase the percentage of Black and under-represented minority faculty, postdocs and graduate students. In the near term we seek, with each round of hiring and admissions, to increase representation in our department to better align with the diversity of the BC undergraduate population. In the longer-term, we seek to achieve representation of under-represented groups that is in closer alignment with national demographics.
Updates August 2022
Two faculty searches in 2021-2022 year attracted many applicants from historically marginalized backgrounds and yielded offers and subsequent hires of two faculty. Recent discussions among chairs and within the university-level Diversity & Inclusion Across Campus committee have focused on ways of increasing our likelihood of successfully recruiting and supporting/retaining Black faculty and other faculty of color.
The department launched the Application Mentorship Program (AMP), a trainee-led initiative that offers mentorship to prospective PhD applicants from underrepresented backgrounds. In our inaugural year (2021), 16 trainees served as mentors for 34 prospective PhD applicants who identified as being from underrepresented backgrounds.
We commit to supporting the well-being of all our students and colleagues. We pledge to promote a climate of diversity and inclusion, encourage open dialogue and transparency, and stand against racism and all other forms of discrimination. We will conduct surveys to assess and better understand the type of systemic racism and biases that we may have in our community so that we can better address the underlying issues with targeted strategies. We will establish resources for anonymous reporting, to promote accountability within our department and to enhance positive interpersonal interactions. We will regularly assess the departmental climate to update our actions to increase the diversity and inclusivity of the department.
Updates August 2022
The climate working group created a trainee poll on departmental climate and implemented trainee recommendations. These included a panel discussion for trainees on mental health in academia, a Big/Little program run by the department’s graduate council, a new page compiling mental health resources for graduate students, and an improved pay schedule for graduate students.
Faculty hosted a DEI statement workshop for graduate students and postdocs
We commit to evaluating and updating our course material to include and inform diverse perspectives. We aim to offer a curriculum that empowers students with the knowledge and skills to:
- Think critically about rich variation in the psychology of different groups and individuals
- Consider and appreciate the psychology of intergroup relations, including issues of dominance and marginalization
- Analyze psychology as a human endeavor that informs and is informed by broader culture
Updates August 2022
- Faculty attended workshops on diversifying the authors represented on their syllabi.
- Students in introductory courses were given access to recorded panels of department alumni; these panels were also offered to undergraduate majors through advising.
We resolve to identify equity gaps in students’ preparation for our courses and graduate programs and to take concrete steps to address any that we find.
Updates August 2022
Workshops on study skills & notetaking and on reading scientific journal articles were offered for Sona credit in introductory courses. These were held by department trainees and faculty and advertised to the “Learning to Learn” group, which is composed of first-generation, low income, and underrepresented students. These workshops will be held again this year.
“Gateway Scholars for STEM” sections were offered for the Introductory “Brain, Mind, & Behavior” course to better support first generation students and students of color who may need additional academic support. Gateway sections will be held again this year.
Application Mentorship Program
The Application Mentorship Program (AMP) is a student-run initiative in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Boston College that offers mentorship to prospective applicants to our doctoral program who are from underrepresented backgrounds. The goal of this program is to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our department as well as in our field by mentoring prospective applicants who may not have access to this type of one-on-one mentorship, or the institutional knowledge and other privileges that have traditionally helped pave the road for applicants into competitive Ph.D. programs.
Ph.D. Application Mentorship Program (AMP) Deadline
Participants in the program will be matched with current graduate students or postdocs in the department who will mentor them on the process of applying to psychology and neuroscience Ph.D. programs. Participants and their mentors will work together to decide how and when to be in contact (e.g., email, Slack, Zoom, phone call, small groups) to discuss topics such as how to refine research interests, how to craft a CV, how to write a compelling personal statement, or any other aspect of the application process about which participants have questions.
This program is designed for prospective applicants from backgrounds that are underrepresented in Psychology and Neuroscience, including, but not limited to: people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ+, people who were the first in their family to attend college, and people with disabilities. If you’re unsure whether this program is for you, chances are that it is!
We also ask that prospective applicants only apply to this program if they are at least considering applying to our doctoral program; however, prospective applicants will continue to receive mentorship even if they later decide not to apply to Boston College. Mentors in our department are best positioned to advise prospective applicants in the following areas: Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognitive/Developmental/Social Psychology, Cognitive/Computational/Social Neuroscience, Quantitative/Computational Psychology. You can learn more about these areas on the departments Reserach page.
We invite prospective applicants to apply to the AMP until November 15 to ensure sufficient time to provide substantive mentorship before the doctoral program's application deadline on December 15.
This program is designed to be fun, flexible, interactive, inclusive, and minimally time-consuming. We know that the application process can be challenging to navigate, so we want to offer whatever assistance we can, while ensuring that we don’t use up more of your time than is helpful.
Please note that participation in this program is NOT a requirement for application or admission to the program, nor will it be factored into the admissions decisions made by the department. Your official application will not indicate whether you participated in this program.
Finally, we would encourage you to check out the FAQs for our doctoral program.