GSTA Position Statement and Call to Action for Graduate Student Teaching Assistants and Instructors of Psychology

18 Jul 2020 3:15 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

By: The GSTA Steering Committee

This position statement and call to action was originally published on June 11, 2020 at https://bit.ly/GSTAstatement06112020

The GSTA stands in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter and with fellow graduate students of color. The events of the past several weeks have, once again, highlighted how systemic racism and inequality have long permeated our lives. We call on our departments, institutions, and professional organizations to address these issues in the context of graduate student admissions, training, and mentorship. As graduate students, we must also address these issues in our circles of impact. Advocating for inclusion, equity, and anti-racism should be at the heart of our scholarship, our teaching, and our practice.

As graduate student teaching assistants and instructors of courses in psychology, we must recognize and acknowledge the ways that our own and our students’ experiences, prejudices, and biases shape our classrooms. If you are not familiar, we encourage you to seek out resources to educate yourself on the history of racism and injustice in and beyond higher education. It is not the job of your students or colleagues of color to educate others. For our colleagues of color and for those who are teaching students of color right now, we hope that you and your students are being supported in your actions and decisions inside and outside the classroom.

Looking ahead, we must find ways to show support for our students and colleagues through our actions as educators. We call on our fellow graduate student teaching assistants and instructors in psychology to:

  • Decolonize your syllabi by including the work of scholars and psychologists from diverse identities and backgrounds.
  • Adopt anti-racist and culturally responsive teaching and assessment practices.
  • Create inclusive learning environments that celebrate diversity, do not tolerate discrimination, and embrace all voices and opinions.
  • Discuss with students and colleagues how discrimination and inequity have shaped the field of psychology and the world around us.
  • Engage with students and colleagues across disciplines in activism to create change in your classrooms, institutions, and communities.
  • Above all, be compassionate and supportive to your students, your colleagues, and yourself during these times.

Our actions as today’s graduate student teaching assistants and instructors set the tone for what the psychology classroom and the field of psychology will look like now and in the future. We call upon you and ourselves to be the change we want to see in this future.

Over the upcoming months, the GSTA Steering Committee will be collaborating with editors of the GSTA Blog (https://teachpsych.org/page-1784686) to post resources addressing these action items. We also invite our community to engage with us in an ongoing dialogue about possible and effective ways to foster inclusion, equity, and anti-racism in our classrooms, institutions, and communities. Voicing your opinions, suggestions, and needs is crucial to guiding our work. We can be reached on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/groups/theGSTA/) and Twitter (@gradsteachpsych), as well as by email at gsta@teachpsych.org.

Sincerely,

The GSTA Steering Committee

Jessica Brodsky, Adam Green, Amy Maslowski, Laura Simon, Terrill Taylor, Maaly Younis


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