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Our Commitment to Our Community

The Department of Human Development and Family Studies is greatly saddened by and angry at tragedies unfolding in our country now, at the ongoing tragic and senseless deaths and mistreatment of black people, and at the selective targeting of non-white racial, ethnic, and sexual-gender minorities that appear to have gained acceptability among certain segments of our population in the past few years. Our department can, should, and will set an example in combatting racism and discrimination in any form and to embrace diversity, inclusion, and equity. 

"Our department can, should, and will set an example in combatting racism and discrimination in any form and embrace diversity, inclusion, and equity."

As department head, I say to all of our colleagues, students, staff, and faculty alike, from racial and ethnic, and sexual and gender minoritized backgrounds, that the department stands with and supports you. Departmental leadership is involved in planning specific steps we can take to demonstrate this support and, more broadly, to effect needed change to integrate and promote diversity, inclusion, and equity. Our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) committee has made some important strides in this regard, but more needs to be done. Some specific plans under consideration include: 

  • Restructuring our undergraduate program to include a requirement that majors take at least one course with a primary emphasis on diversity and inclusion, rather than merely including such courses as optional electives. Several courses have been developed in the past few years that can serve this purpose. This requirement could also be satisfied with courses provided by minors in diversity and inclusion in HHD and the College of the Liberal Arts. 
  • Working with faculty to ensure that existing courses in our major and our graduate program contain material that focuses on development and family relationships in diverse populations with the goal of understanding these processes for their own sake, not as a basis for comparison with processes in the majority culture. Our faculty are already working toward this goal.
  • Requiring faculty and staff to participate in workshops addressing topics of diversity and inclusion as they become available, at least one training per year.
  • Scheduling at least one faculty meeting each semester devoted to topics of diversity and inclusion that faculty will be required to attend, and to involve graduate students and staff.
  • Working with Dean Newschaffer and other college officials to develop a speaker series dedicated to diversity and inclusion.   
  • Working closely with the departmental CIDE committee to assess ongoing climate around diversity, inclusion, and equity, and to address problems as they arise. Assessments of departmental climate will include input from faculty, students, and staff, and seek input on how well, or not, the above initiatives are working, as well as ideas for additional goals.
  • Collaborating with the college and University to develop initiatives to hire faculty from under-represented, diverse backgrounds. These initiatives are consistent with the goals and cross-cutting themes of the department’s strategic plan. 
  • Strategic focus on historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and institutions of higher education with high enrollments of students from diverse backgrounds for recruitment into our graduate program.

I look forward to working with everyone as we move forward to achieve these goals.

Douglas Teti
Head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies