November 9, 2020

  • Opening Business (happens monthly)
    • Check the reporting link
    • Addition of New Business to the Agenda
    • Attendance – Mary Beth Heller, Jennifer Joy-Gaba,  LaToya Davis, Fantasy Lozada, Jared Keeley, Joshua Langberg, Amanda Parks, Ashley MacPherson, Vicky Shivy, and Rebecca Hoppe
  • The Election — DONE!
    • Follow up communication? (Idea from last meeting); Fantasy, Vicky, Beth, Becka – submit for newsletter by close of business Thursday, November 12
      • In favor of communication, but what would be the intent and goal; how to make it unbiased
        • Perhaps something focused on the main points of Biden campaign that reflect EDI, encouraging people to think through the work that that still needs to be done; maintaining self-care practices; sensitive time – people should be safe and look out for the safety and well-being of others
  • Newsletter Subcommittee Report
    • November Draft
    • Includes recap of the semester? (Idea from last meeting)
    • ACTION ITEM FOR GROUP: Feedback to the subcommittee (send to Jared) by close of business on Thursday, November 12 by close of business
  • Social Justice Orientated Statement Update
    • Formal feedback (survey)
    • Informal feedback
    • Data are with the GAC now (meetings are happening within the next week or so)
    • Josh and Fantasy will take a look at the anonymous survey and see how the data can be shared (qual with the committee; quant with the department)
      • Josh will email Zewe to ask how it can be shared out
    • Amanda described that people didn’t understand what the term “social justice” means — we should think about how we define and operationalize the concepts we are talking about
  • DFW Rates – DISCUSSION
    • This is a top priority for the current Dean and is high priority for the president
    • Psychology is doing relatively well (not on the top 30 list) – but it doesn’t mean that we don’t have any issues
    • POLICY/STRUCTURE IDEA: Could be particularly relevant for thinking about when new faculty are hired — what type of teaching/pedagogical culture do these new faculty come from (e.g., “sink or swim”) and how to ensure that the we are communicating what the expectations are for EDI and engagement
    • DEPARTMENT/SCHOOL ISSUE: High withdraw rates; withdrawals leading to students getting into a cycle of re-taking courses over and over, paying more money, becoming in debut, and not graduating. Students are encouraged to withdraw so it doesn’t hurt their GPA, but withdrawals are sometimes a chronic issue for students. The issue may not necessarily have to do with courses that students are taking in psychology– psych majors take classes from all departments — they are taking classes that are taught in ways that are not promoting their success
      • REFLECTION FOR PSYCH DEPT: Is this an issue for some of the difficult courses that are required for the psychology major such as PSYC 214 and PSYC 317? If it is, what do students need?
        • For PSYC 317, instructors note that students are not equipped to write a full APA style paper, but that they must do so within the lab component of the course. This is despite there being expectations that students will write APA-style papers in other PSYC courses AND students being required to take UNIV 200 Inquiry Class (a writing intensive course that requires a research paper). Not having the writing skills necessary may be what pushes students to withdraw from the course.
      • REFLECTION: What programs are offered to students that might combat this issue? Summer programs that are aimed at targeting the success of Black and Brown students?
        • There was a previous program at VCU (LaToya is an alum of this previous program)
        • First gen student center exists, but this is when students get here — students need something before this
        • Men of Color course
        • Course by Lauren Jackson (woman of color)
        • VCU LSAMP Program has a summer transition program
    • PSYC DEPARTMENT RESOURCE IDEA: Offering a tutoring initiative – faculty and students could volunteer
      • University offers tutoring and supplemental instruction — PSYC 317 does not currently have supplemental instruction
    • TO CONTINUE THIS CONVERSATION: Identify initiatives that are happening in other committees that we can support or help to join for synergy – those that are focused on undergraduate psychology
      • Undergraduate academic committee (LaToya & Jared are on this committee and will ask if there are current initiatives or subcommittees? What are the appropriate channels?
    • REFLECTION FOR PSYC DEPARTMENT: What are the issues for recruitment and retention for underrepresented students in psychology at the graduate and undergraduate level? What are actionable steps to address these issues?
  • New Business
    • Student Chair – table until the spring semester
      • Nominations
      • What’s the role of the student-chair?
    • Reporting Link Response from fall 2019/spring 2020
      • Feedback Takeaways:
        • Invisible Disability and Mental Health Diagnoses and the intersection of these identities.
          • Academic Accommodations for graduate students seem to “fall by the wayside”; SAEO accommodations do not apply for the graduate student experience and responsibilities
          • Particularly salient during COVID
          • How to make students more comfortable with sharing
          • FOLLOW UP: We need to better understand how SAEO works with graduate students for accommodations — Beth mentioned she might be able to find some information for us to start with from SAEO director
        • Allyship groups in the department:
          • Clinical Students started an ally group (Jared is faculty supervisor for the group): Lots of resources from this group — can start here with helping to provide an opportunity for the start of an ally group across psychology programs
    • Cultural Taxation (Amanda): University strategies for protecting BIPOC
      • Articles and some informal feedback (Amanda will send)
  • Action Items
    • ACTION ITEMS FOR ALL MEMBERS:
      • Take a look back through the meeting minutes (particularly highlighted portions with your names) to attend to any individual action items.
      • Provide feedback to the newsletter subcommittee on drafts by November 12th
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