Values Glossary

The Psychology Department Diversity Committee is committed to upholding central, shared values as we collaboratively work toward improved diversity, equity and inclusion within our department and our campus at UWM, broadly. We have defined each of our values within the four values pillars: Ethics and Professionalism, Community Wellbeing, Improvement and Growth, and Education. There are also illustrative media examples to highlight the ways in which we see our shared values underpinning our motivation to engage in this work.

This is an active, working document and may be subject to change as we continue to learn and grow as individuals and as a unified group of students, faculty and staff.

1. Ethics and Professionalism

  • Accountability(both group and individual): the obligation to explain, justify, and take responsibility for one’s actions. It is the state of being compelled to answer to someone. For example, a White professor who holds himself accountable for making racially insensitive comments about a student or colleague of color. To illustrate, power differentials are not applicable in the context of the Psychology Department Diversity Committee as we are all equal contributing members and need to be open to accountability.
  • Vulnerability: Willing to be exposed to criticism or call-outs. Responding with openness and non-defensiveness to feedback, but without the expectation of being attacked or harmed. ““Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage,” affirms research professor and author Brené Brown in Rising Strong” (Brown, 2015). [Citation: Rising strong: The reckoning. The rumble. The revolution. New York: Spiegel & Grau.]
  • Humility: A modest view of one’s own importance and expertise, being unpretentious (e.g., a student who does not identify with a given culture does not assume expertise just because they have done research on this particular cultural group. They instead ask about that culture, its practices and what they mean to the speaker.
  • Honesty/Integrity: When one speaks the truth and acts truthfully (e.g., a faculty member shares knowledge of unjust practices occurring through campus policies to call-in for support in advocating for the affected marginalized communities).
  • Responsibility: The state or reality of being answerable or liable for something within one’s power, control, or management (e.g., a student acknowledging when they have invalidated someone by dismissing their concerns about the lack of diversity in higher education).
  • Transparency: The process of operating in such a way that it is easy for others to see what acts are performed, suggesting openness, communication, and accountability. Shared information primes trust in organizations, under certain circumstances.
  • Ethical standards: A set of principles created by the developers of an organization to convey its basic moral values. This language offers a framework that can be applied as a reference for decision making processes.
  • Collegiality: Companionship and cooperation between colleagues who share responsibility. Collegiality is a core principle of the Psychology Dept Diversity Committee’s decision-making and dictates how the department develops, implements and enforces policy.
  • Professionalism: Character, attitude, engagement, competency in skillset, image and continuous improvement in conduct to achieve shared objectives (e.g., conveying emotionally charged information to a larger audience in an objective, evidence-based manner. This is done in effort to broaden the positive impact and enhance a sense of community among a diverse group of people.
  • Collaboration: The process of two or more people or organizations working jointly to mutually fulfill a task or attain a goal, e.g., brainstorming as a group. Collaboration is like cooperation. Today’s professional universe is often team-based and translational. Thus, students, faculty and staff should work together to resolve complex social conflicts. Most collaboration entails leadership, though the type of leadership can be defined and distributed among the group.

2. Community Wellbeing

  • Psychological safety: A belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes. This involves acknowledging and minimizing power imbalances and increasing humility within the Diversity Committee, which includes individuals at different stages in their career, complex interrelationships and diverse identities.
  • Respect for privacy:– Recognition of one’s ownership of their physical and mental reality and right to self-determination. For example, keeping individuals’ feedback and shared experiences private or adequately de-identified unless permission has been given to share or if outside of the conversation/ context in which they were revealed, unless you are required to report due to mandatory reporting requirements
  • Community care: “People committed to leveraging their privilege, (energy, ability) to be there for one another in various ways.” – Nakita Valerio ( Community care consists of both small- and large-scale actions that show support for another person, or group of people. It involves taking the initiative to show and give compassion to each other, especially when someone is struggling or limited in energy and resources.
  • Student success: the processes that are most likely to lead to positive student outcomes. In terms of community well-being, this includes psychological safety in relationships with mentors and colleagues, curriculum and departmental events that are respectful and affirming, and swiftly addressing psychological harm due to microaggressions, discrimination and retaliation.
  • Outreach and dissemination: A planned process that involves consideration of target audiences, consideration of the settings in which information is received, and communicating and interacting with wider audiences in ways that will facilitate sharing of knowledge and understanding. For example, sharing knowledge gleaned from clinical practice and/or research with undergraduates, other departments and diverse members of the Milwaukee community.
  • Social justice: Can be understood in four interrelated domains: equity, access, participation and rights. Equity ensures fair distribution of available resources across individuals. Access ensures all people have access to goods and services regardless of identity and background. Participation enables people to participate in decisions which affect their lives. Rights protect individual liberties to information about circumstances and decisions affecting them and to appeal unfair decisions.
  • Wellbeing: The state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy. How people feel and how they function, both on a personal and a social level, and how they evaluate their lives as a whole.
  • Belongingness: Human emotional need to affiliate with and be accepted by members of a group. This involves feeling included, wanted, safe and supported.
  • Student engagement: Degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education. Within the Diversity Committee, this also encompasses the degree to which students feel comfortable, motivated, involved and represented in anti-racist and DEI (diversity equity and inclusion) initiatives within the department.

3. Improvement/Growth

  • Accountability (both group and individual): “In a Culture of Accountability, people at every level of the organization [take ownership] and are personally committed to achieving key results targeted by the team or organization, and they never wait to be asked for a progress report or a follow-up plan. Instead, they report proactively and follow-up constantly, diligently measuring their own progress because they have internalized their commitment to achieving [collective] results.”
    • Example: A faculty member invites another faculty member to reflect on a questionable action, even when it may not be received favorably.
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    • Media example:
    • Vulnerability: “…a willingness to be transparent and emotionally exposed in relationship with another individual, with the possibility of being hurt or attacked. For example, a leader could share their feelings of fear when taking a new risk, or share what it feels like to move past prior failure and take on a bold new vision. Vulnerability is considered a choice leaders make, and can only be experienced in communion with someone else.”
    • Humility: “Humility is more about subduing one’s ego and willingly acknowledges that self-importance is less worthy of regard than group achievements (Burton, 2018). Owens and Hekman (2016, p. 1088) defined humility as consisting of three important pillars: (1) a willingness to view oneself accurately; (2) an appreciation of others’ strengths and contributions; and (3) teachability or openness to new ideas and feedback. These three pillars of humility, and the importance of a leader’s willingness to constantly improve and excel incorporated with being teachable, were also identified as critical elements of humility associated with leadership by Anderson and Caldwell (2018). Humble leadership is highly relational, focused on creating group trust and based upon creating a culture that inspires everyone to collaborate to produce an optimal outcome (Schein and Schein, 2016)” (Xu, F., Xu, B., Anderson, & Caldwell, 2019).
    • Autonomy: the capacity of a group, and each member of the group, to behave in accordance with a set of shared values and morality rather than under the influence of desires or socially imposed expectations.
    • Openness (openness to lived experiences and thoughts; openness to be challenged/corrected): A willingness to listen, absorb and integrate our own lived experiences with others’ lived experiences, thoughts and perspectives; willingness to have our thoughts and ideas challenged and commitment to respond to such challenges with humility rather than with a defensive reaction.
    • Introspection: Ongoing examination of one’s own thoughts, emotions, interactions with others and reactions to others, particularly when such interactions evoke an unexpected or defensive behavior. Acknowledgment and examination of the impact of power differentials within our society, local community and within the capacity of our Diversity Committee, and pursuit of dismantling unproductive power imbalances.
    • Positionality: Encourage and empower one another to have a seat at the table. Acknowledge our position within socially constructed hierarchies and the advantages (power) and disadvantages we each hold in relation to others. Commitment to dismantle power differentials by encouraging and empowering one another to have a seat at the table – particularly minoritized individuals whose voices have historically been stifled.
    • Authenticity: the degree to which an individual, and a group, exhibit behaviors that are congruent with shared beliefs and values, despite external pressures to conform to traditional practices that are often based in colonialist values
    • Innovation: Willingness to consider new/creative ways to solve problems. The creation, development and implementation of processes and practices that strive to promote diversity, inclusivity and equity as well as a climate based in acceptance (not tolerance)
    • Decolonization: Commitment to combating systemic racism through active participation in dismantling structures which serve to maintain White supremacy within the Psychology Department, the UW-system, and in the Milwaukee community more broadly.
    • Perseverance: Drive to overcome societal barriers and pressures and instead uphold shared values and create structures to support individuals of minoritized backgrounds.
    • Resilience: “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress… As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.”
    • Momentum: Humility and wanting to gain momentum to move forward in our action items; move away from a state of paralysis. Continually maintaining a steady pace of collective progress and growth toward our goals of creating and sustaining a culture that celebrates and encourages diversity.

4. Education

  • Student engagement: degree of attention, curiosity, interest, optimism, and passion that students show when they are learning or being taught, which extends to the level of motivation they have to learn and progress in their education./li>
  • Perspective taking: Seeing a situation through the viewpoint of another and recognizing that others from backgrounds different from one’s own have a uniquely valuable perspective. Requires self-awareness and intellectual flexibility.
  • Innovation: Seeking new and creative ways to solve problems with the understanding that existing power structures were not created for people of marginalized identities, and thus will require creative approaches to overcome systemic oppression and discrimination.
  • Decolonization: dismantling euro-centric values-based curricula, administrative processes, and campus culture to be inclusive and welcoming of all students, staff and faculty.
  • Outreach and dissemination: extending programs, services, activities, or expertise and distributing information to communities inside and outside of the University through use of community engaged research practices; such practices include working collaboratively with groups of people affiliated with the Psychology department by geographic proximity, special interests, or any other relevant connection.
  • Student success: positive student outcomes that are a result of engaging in multicultural curricula and contributing to a psychologically safe environment
  • Scientific rigor: implementing high standards and ethical practices to ensure reproducibility and reliability of data. High standards of ethical practices include (but is not limited to): recruiting participants from underserved populations, and interpreting/ representing data in a way that respects and empowers the communities that have provided their time and energy. We must value all that participants are willing to share with us and engage in community care to encourage reciprocity within our research.
  • Ethical standards: practicing integrity, trustworthiness, equity, respect, stewardship, compliance with law, confidentiality, and personal responsibility.