Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Mission Statement 

The Psychology Department’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is based on the University’s diversity and inclusion principles:

  • Respect the dignity of every person.
  • Build a Notre Dame community in which all can flourish.
  • Live in solidarity with all, particularly the most vulnerable.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Psychology Department enhance the educational experience for everyone. Support for diversity, equity, and inclusion promotes a climate of intellectual curiosity, the open exchange of ideas, and the acquisition of knowledge and understanding about people and issues within and outside of the academic setting. The Department of Psychology is committed to promoting a broad-based, collective understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion, thereby establishing and maintaining a climate that values our faculty, students, and staff and supports their goals and the mission of the Department and the University. The commitment to creating and maintaining a climate supportive of diversity, equity, and inclusion enhances the education and training of students to pursue careers in diverse work settings and enhances the environment in which faculty teach and conduct research.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

The members of the current Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee are available as resources. The 2023–2024 members are as follows:

Faculty: Jenny Padilla, Vanessa Chan, Gerald Haeffel, Taylor Nicoletti.

Graduate Students:    Vevette YangMiguel Balcutt Woogar, Lingbo TongXinran Niu

If you are a faculty or student who is interested in being involved in the DEI committee initiatives, please contact Jenny Padilla (jpadill5@nd.edu).

Additionally, below are listed some current graduate students and faculty in the Department of Psychology who have volunteered to make themselves available to answer questions from prospective graduate students and who are committed to upholding a diverse, equitable, and inclusive climate. If you have questions about applying to graduate school or would like to know more about the department, please feel free to contact them!

Graduate Students:


Department Climate

The goal of the Psychology Department is to cultivate an atmosphere that is not only challenging intellectually but also supportive and respectful of every individual, student, faculty, and staff member in our community of every culture, ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, socio-economic background, and ability. The norms in our department are the inclusion of people from different backgrounds, engagement with different points of view, and open discussion of ideas. 

These processes are a collective responsibility, and as such, the Psychology Department is dedicated to maintaining a respectful and inclusive environment for all. We do not condone any offensive incidents that cause discomfort or create an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or demeaning environment such as, but not limited to, acts of sexual or non-sexual harassment, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, intolerance of differences. Thus, we have provided a number of courses of actions that one might take in response to such interactions, as enumerated below.

Procedures for Handling Serious Concerns and Transgressions

Given the department's commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, we have herein outlined the appropriate steps to address transgressions that do not support our mission. The first step might be to determine whether the issue can be settled with the transgressor, that is, speaking directly with the person, telling him or her what behavior was experienced as offensive (hostile, etc.) and, ideally, having a conversation about the issue that resolves the situation. This could be done one-on-one, or as a group (i.e., if multiple individuals found a situation offensive) or with an ally (e.g., one of the people named below). That is, some situations may be the result of lack of knowledge or insensitivity that can be resolved with discussion. However, this may not be an option that a person would choose, or the conversation might not resolve the issue. The second step might be to consult an academic advisor, the chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, the Director of Graduate Studies, and/ or the Chair. But those approaches also may not be an option that one might choose, in which case the issue may be taken to an appropriate person listed on the University’s Diversity Resources and Reporting website. Thus, there are University-level options as well as options in the Psychology Department. The University’s complete list of resources and reporting guidelines can be found here.

This process would also be applicable to situations in which one witnesses transgressions of any magnitude. Rather than remain silent, for example, one might speak up to indicate one's own discomfort with a sexist comment. Another first step might be to talk to the person who appears to be the recipient of the transgression. Perhaps that discussion can clarify the context and a plan can be developed that might include a discussion with the transgressor by the witness, the recipient of the transgression, or both. However, as described above, that approach may not be an option that the witness might choose and, as such, the witness can choose to follow the remaining steps listed above. 

In the Psychology Department, Brad Gibson (Director of Graduate Studies) and Dan Lapsley (Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee) are available, particularly to graduate students, for consultation on any of these issues. For anyone in the department, Cindy Bergman (Department Chair) also is available. Thus, Brad Gibson, Dan Lapsley, and/or Cindy Bergman are available individually or collectively for consultation at any point in the process of dealing with transgressions. Please contact one or all of them.

List of DEI Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff 

This link includes a list of valuable university, college, department, local and professional resources concerning DEI policies and procedures.