In this issue
Update of Activities for Presidential Objective
By Yukiko Washio, PhD
Interest in Minority/Foreign-born Focus Group Among Division 28 Constituents
In the last newsletter, we introduced the newly established minority/foreign-born focus group and the preliminary results of the survey sent out to Division 28 constituents. The preliminary data suggested that cultural barriers are perceived to be the most restrictive for minority/foreign-born members; yet, minimal formal support currently exists to address these concerns. Recommended future directions that Division 28 can take to support minority and foreign-born researchers included establishing a mentoring program, writing newsletter articles on issues germane to minority/foreign-born members, and hosting APA conference social hours to facilitate more discussion of these issues. In the current article, we would like to review how other divisions have been supporting minority and foreign-born researchers, to begin a dialogue of how Division 28 might approach these concerns.
In 2005, then APA President Ronald F. Levant, PhD, created the Presidential Task Force on Enhancing Diversity as one of his presidential initiatives. Subsequently, the APA Divisions Task Force on Inclusion and Diversity committee created four major tasks: (1) defining what diversity is with regard to the committee’s charge, recognizing that diversity may include many different and overlapping categories and recognizing that not all diversity is associated with prejudice or possibly lower status, (2) exploring ways to measure the “climate” of the divisions with regard to attitudes and nonverbal behaviors that support diversity or hinder the welcoming of individuals from diverse groups, (3) identifying deliberate, built-in structures that are effective in bringing new members and meeting their needs, and (4) developing a conflict resolution approach that would be effective for divisions to employ when there are conflicts among diverse sub-groups.
In 2009, via financial support from an Interdivisional Grant proposal, the committee conducted a survey of APA divisions to examine what changes divisions had made to better support their under-represented populations. Presidents in 27of the 54 divisions responded to the survey.
Divisions had made several changes to better accommodate the needs of their minority/foreign- born members. These included diversifying their membership committees by adding minorities representatives, implementing structured mentoring programs, creating sections within the division that specifically focused on minority interests and research, providing travel awards for minority/foreign-born members to attend and participate in Convention programming, adding a diversity social hour, conducting diversity training workshops, and increasing minority member scholarship via presentations and journal publications.
Many of the changes previously made by other divisions are consistent with the suggestions Division 28 members provided via our survey. Therefore, we approached several key persons in other divisions for more information regarding their minority/foreign-born efforts. We have received a generous invitation from Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) to visit their annual convention program hour named the “Links and Shoulders program”, during which early career psychologists (ECPs) and senior psychologists are introduced to ethnic minority psychology leaders. We think this is a wonderful first step toward meeting the needs of our minority/foreign-born members, and will remind our readers of this wonderful opportunity in future newsletters as the next convention approaches.
Our minority/foreign-born focus group would like to identify other opportunities to advance the careers of our students and ECPs who might be struggling with language, cultural, and/or immigration-related barriers in the U.S. Anyone who knows of additional programs that might offer advice and guidance regarding these barriers, or who is seeking resources themselves, is encouraged to contact me.