Psychology Department — Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) Task Force

Statement on Diversity

The Department of Psychology at The University of Akron is committed to cultivating a learning community that recognizes, celebrates, and values diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. This commitment strengthens our academic community with educational and societal benefits including improved research, training, and services. Further, we believe this prepares students for ethical and meaningful contributions in today’s global society. We adhere to a holistic perspective of diversity, which includes race, ethnicity, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, ability status, neurodiversity, religion, spirituality, and other identities or ideologies. Finally, our department strives to create and actively promote a welcoming and supportive environment where diverse perspectives are encouraged, recognized, and respected. We also embrace an attitude of cultural humility resulting in a humble and respectful attitude toward diversity, willingness to challenge our own biases, and approach diversity through a process of lifelong learning.

The University of Akron is an Equal Education and Employment Institution. View our Non-Discrimination Statement for more information.

Psychology Department Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion Task Force

This task force stemmed from a process group held for students and faculty in June of 2020 in the midst of heightened conversations about police brutality and Black Lives Matter protests. In the process group, students and faculty discussed the role of higher education, and particularly of psychology and social justice initiatives. The idea of having a department-wide diversity plan focused on racial justice was put forth. Since this meeting, the department developed a task force to focus on these racial justice initiatives as well as issues related to diversity broadly-defined, equity, accessibility, and inclusion.

Given the initial focus of the process group on racial justice initiatives, the first step for the task force is to identify needs related to racial diversity in the Department of Psychology. The task force is currently developing surveys to assess needs as well as diversity climate for undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Based on the needs identified, the task force will pursue action (e.g., recruitment of racially diverse students and faculty, diversity programming, etc.). The task force plans to tackle broader diversity-related initiatives (e.g., LGBT+), equity, accessibility, and inclusion in the future.

Task force members


  • Dr. Joelle Elicker
  • Dr. Margo Gregor
  • Dr. John Queener
  • Dr. Jennifer Tehan Stanley
  • Dr. Meghan Thornton-Lugo
  • Dr. Ingrid Weigold

Graduate students:

  • Sianne Alexis - Coordinator
  • Diamond Brown - Coordinator
  • Chris Ng
  • Abigail Stark
  • Mariel Reynolds 
  • Nina Parekh
  • Nicole Baker 
  • Megan Frey

Undergraduate students:

  • Natalia Felicelli
  • Makayla Minard

Racial Climate Survey

The results from the Fall 2021 undergraduate racial climate survey can be viewed here.
This report was shared with the psychology faculty on February 11, 2022. Faculty discussed the results, identified areas for improvement, and implemented a plan for beginning to address them. Four areas were identified:
  1. Underrepresentation of Faculty of Color,
  2. Curricular Changes to include more diversity,
  3. Co-Curricular Changes to increase engagement a) in research and, b) with faculty,  
  4. Updating RTP and Merit Guidelines for faculty to reflect DEI Values

To begin to address these four areas, the faculty have designated a Working Group of Faculty to meet once per month to oversee the suggested changes. 

Results from the undergraduate and graduate racial climate survey were presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Summer 2023. View the poster here

Diverse Speaker Support Resources

The DEAI Task Force has been awarded $5,000 from the College of Arts & Sciences Innovation Fund to dispense in support of guest speakers from diverse backgrounds for the psychology department. The allocation of these funds is intended to pay small stipends to these guest speakers or to provide snacks at associated events. If you are an instructor at the University of Akron that is interested in use of some of these funds for a guest speaker, an online request form can be found here.

Question? Want to join?

If you have any questions or concerns, or are interested in being part of this task force, please contact Sianne Alexis at or Diamond Brown at