Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology



Faculty hiring. Prior to the current hiring freeze, the Department of Psychology had requested COLA to hire in 3 domains (determined by input from departmental areas and the Executive Committee):

  1. Computational analysis of behavior
  2. Biopsychological approaches to understanding mental health
  3. Social decision making, motivation, moral behavior and foundations of bias

Recruiting underrepresented minority candidates to these positions is a high priority.

In the current hiring freeze, there are two hiring lines that can potentially be pursued through the Cluster and Interdisciplinary Hiring Initiative:

  1. Diversity in cognitive functioning brain correlates of cognitive function in aging
  2. Neurobiological impact of childhood adversity on development

These two faculty hiring lines are aimed at recruiting diverse candidates that are working with diverse populations.  For the Diversity in Cognitive Aging hire, the focus will be in research examining brain correlates of cognitive function in aging in diverse populations. For the Childhood Diversity hire, the focus will be on investigating the impact of adversity, created and/or exacerbated by social and structural forces that marginalize minority communities, on the neurobiology of psychological or physical health.

There is currently a comprehensive departmental strategic planning process ongoing to consider the future goals and strategies of the department and how a hiring plan can help achieve these goals.  In Fall 2019, faculty, students and staff were surveyed to determine perspectives on departmental strengths, weaknesses and opportunities for change. Though the pandemic has slowed the place of this planning, department-wide discussions of the strategic plan and hiring priorities will commence in Fall 2020 and lead to the development of a plan of action that can be presented to COLA by the end of 2020.


Graduate student recruitment. Attracting a diverse applicant pool to our graduate program is a high priority.  To take a step towards increasing awareness of opportunities in our graduate program, the department has created the Opportunity Pathfinder Initiative, which will fully fund travel and expenses of UT Department of Psychology faculty to visit with students and faculty at Minority Serving Institution (MSIs, including HBCUs, TCUs and HSIs).  We will engage in a planning process to determine how to create a pathway from this initiative to successful recruitment efforts.

The department will be creating a database that identifies student organizations at colleges and universities in the US that cater to underrepresented populations - MSIs. Listed will be offices and organizations within these colleges and universities that promote diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. With this database available, the department plans to disseminate information about our Ph.D. program and invite specific faculty who are recruiting a student to reach out and make their own contact. The goal of this is to increase the number of high quality applicants our department receives from underrepresented populations. We will also invest in additional outreach efforts and fellowships to provide training for minority students who would like to pursue doctoral training at UT Psychology.  This program of action can build on the efforts of the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) at UT.  We will also be developing diversity fellowship opportunities to support recruitment efforts.  We are currently fundraising via the 40for40 Campaign to support a Diversity Scholars Fund ( to support recruitment and programming related to diversity initiatives.


Reducing inequities in student compensation.  The lack of financial support offered to graduate students has been a barrier to attracting students to our graduate program and in creating a safe and inclusive training environment where financial disadvantage is not a barrier to a PhD.  In Fall 2019, the department committed to raising the minimum student stipend to $24,000/year and is planning to raise this further to $28,000/year in Fall 2022. In addition, the department is committed to paying any tuition costs incurred by students.

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  • Department of Psychology

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