The recent U.S. election campaign was divisive and many of us experienced anger and fear. In response, the leadership of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) wants to reaffirm our core organizational values. SPSP is dedicated to advancing the discipline of social and personality psychology and the professional lives of social and personality psychologists. Our organization has a long—and active!—history of supporting diversity among our members, along with open, international collaborations with scholars worldwide.
Our organization is grounded in a strong, fundamental value of individual diversity in the U.S. and abroad. This is further fueled by our belief that science thrives on diversity. The diverse expertise and training that researchers bring to their work is central to the future of our field. The United States, as a global science leader, has benefitted substantially from international collaborations around the globe, including the work of immigrants and visiting scientists. SPSP, science in general, and the United States as a country gains strength from individual diversity in all its forms.
SPSP has a large portfolio of programmatic initiatives to support diversity among our members.
At the SPSP Annual Convention, programming, networking and special events are all selected to support the diversity of our members. A diversity reception and welcome breakfast are held to welcome attendees. SPSP co-sponsors a mentoring lunch with the GLBT Alliance in Social and Personality Psychology, as well as an LGBT reception this year. And every international first-time attendee receives special support and welcoming in the months leading up to the convention.
Our Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) is a two month, pre-graduate internship program for students who have traditionally been underrepresented in our field. SPUR is designed to increase the number of minority scholars entering graduate school in social psychology. In so doing, we hope to address the underrepresentation of minority faculty and to enhance our scholarship with the inclusion of the research perspectives of minority scholars.
SPSP’s Diversity Fund provides undergraduate and graduate travel awards that are devoted to increasing the diversity of the students attending the SPSP annual conference. United States and international students receive support to attend the conference and in addition attend a reception for award recipients during the convention. At the convention, students also have the opportunity to meet with an admired scholar in social and personality psychology of their own choosing.
SPSP’s organizational structure also reflects our commitment to diversity and includes a Diversity and Climate Committee dedicated to supporting the diversity of SPSP members. In addition, at every meeting of the Board, each committee addresses any current work it is doing to support diversity. Our Board of Directors also reviews nomination slates for elected officers and leadership appointments for recognition of diversity values. That same lens is used when the Publication Committee selects journal editors, when Award Panels select awardees, when the Grant Review Panel selects grantees, and when our summer school students are chosen.
We thank you for being a part of our community. Your membership in SPSP and your representation in our discipline is important at this time when social and personality psychology is deeply needed. In addition to the work that many of our members are doing to understand the election and its implications, the field is made stronger by each of us bringing our diverse backgrounds to the table.
Wendy Wood, SPSP President
On behalf of the SPSP Board of Directors