We are living in very difficult times. The pandemic is changing almost every element of our lives. We can’t feel free to just leave our home and do what we want. We worry about our friends and family members who are ill and those who are on the front lines helping those who are ill. We have been struggling with this for months. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t feel like we are making a great deal of progress even though the data suggest that, in some ways, we are. It continues to be difficult and so very different from our old lives.
Now, we have the horrible atrocity of the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota. This is yet another example of the racism and discrimination that exists so broadly in our world. It’s awful that there are so many examples – Freddie Gray, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery. The institutional racism is all around us. As a privileged white man I will not begin to think that I can understand what the members of the black community experience and have experienced their entire lives – that would be disingenuous. But, I can stand with my black brothers and sisters and I do… I can pledge to be better about listening to those experiences and I will….I can commit to actions that help fix the broken system that white America created and I am committed to that. I’m hoping to get some guidance about how best to do these things from those who live with this injustice every day.
We have a responsibility to each other – to faculty and staff, to graduate students, to undergraduate students – to be there for each other. We need to listen and try to understand what our friends of color are experiencing. Since March was have seen more and more attacks on Asian Americans as a result of the virus having started in China. This has been pretty disconcerting in my house. Having an Asian-American wife and 3 “hapa” (mixed race in Hawaiian) kids makes me think about institutional racism in broader terms. However, it is our Black brothers and sisters who are so deeply discriminated against and for whom social justice is so frequently ignored. We all need to recognize that Black Lives Matter isn’t a cute little saying. It’s a pronouncement in response to feeling a lack of value or worth from the society in which folks live. No one should have to experience that. We owe it to all members of our community to fight for each individual’s value and worth. We will do that in the Department of Psychology – we will do better, we must. I think President Obama said it very well in a recent statement, “It falls on all of us, regardless of our race or station….to work together to create a ‘new normal’ in which the legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts.”
If you are looking for a good read, I strongly suggest Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson. A quote from that book resonates with me in this particular time and place: “Sometimes we’re fractured by the choices we make; sometimes we’re shattered by things we would never have chosen. But our brokenness is also the source of our common humanity, the basis for our shared search for comfort, meaning, and healing. Our shared vulnerability and imperfection nurtures and sustains our capacity for compassion.”
We have a lot to do. I hope that we all find our place and our role – whatever that may be. To my black brothers and sisters: I am so sorry that you have to fear what might happen to you when doing things that I do without thinking (running, sleeping, shopping). I’m so sorry that you have to have conversations with your children that my parents never had to have with me. I’m sorry that we even have to utter the phrase Black Lives Matter because that should be so obvious and an absolute given. But, that’s the reality now; let’s create the ‘new normal’ that President Obama wrote about last week. We truly are in this together. I hope the Department of Psychology can model attitudes and behaviors that become part of the ‘new normal.’
If your struggle leads you to a search for resources, here are some places to start as identified by an email sent to the UA community from our VP of Inclusion and Equity, Jolene Lane. The anger, anxiety, depression, and frustration can be overwhelming – let’s help each other.
Please stay safe,
I’m so glad you found us! We are the Psychology Department at The University of Akron and our psychology school is a busy, active, and thriving place. There is a great deal of information for you on this website whether you are a prospective undergraduate psychology major or minor, prospective graduate student, current UA student, or a visitor trying to learn more about psychology and psychology at UA. Please look around and email me directly if you have any questions, firstname.lastname@example.org.
We currently have about 600 undergraduate psychology majors and typically 30 or more of them are in the UA Honors College, which offers them special seminars, research experiences, and other terrific academic opportunities throughout their university stay.
Students have opportunities to work one-on-one with a faculty member and graduate students on an independent research project, while also taking courses in advanced research design and statistics. In addition, field experience students can get credit for volunteering with a local agency as part of our Field Experience Seminar.
We have two graduate programs in Psychology. Each has its own particular emphasis, but all three intersect in: joint research efforts, cross-disciplinary curriculum experiences, a unified foundational curriculum in psychology, and to create a shared psychology community.
Industrial/Organizational Psychology program, offers doctoral and terminal masters degrees, and is one of the older and more established programs in the country. The I/O doctoral program has been rated in the top ten by most available ranking systems including those based purely on research productivity.
Counseling Psychology doctoral program has one of the best research track records in the country and consistently has among the best pass rates on the national licensure exam (EPPP).
Across these two psychology programs we have about 80 graduate students coming from all over the United States and internationally.
The University of Akron Counseling Psychology Program ranks No. 2 on the EPPP passage rate in the United States. Read all the details here!
Our faculty is a strong and committed group of teachers/scholars who are passionate about their research, UA students, and the educational process. All UA psychology faculty publish and present papers regularly and are involved in various professional organizations (e.g., APA, SIOP, GSA, APS). Most review regularly for scholarly journals and many serve on editorial boards and as editors and associate editors of journals. High quality teaching in UA's psychology school occurs both in the classroom and one-on-one in our research labs.
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