Our program is focused on preparing school psychologists to be culturally responsive and proactive practitioners and scholars. We define culture as a way of thinking, acting, and feeling shared by a group of people. Culturally responsive practice and scholarship requires investigation and awareness of one’s own culture and biases, and it values and validates the cultural backgrounds of diverse students, families, teachers, and all other personnel with whom we interact. Many aspects of culture, which have been linked to youth social, emotional, and academic outcomes, are examined throughout the training program, including but not limited to gender, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, disability status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, and national origin.
On the one hand, we believe that many aspects of nurturing and effective home and school environments are universal, or nearly so. Much of our training program focuses on preparing students to foster these types of environments in their intervention and consultation work. On the other hand, we recognize that some aspects of nurturing and effective environments are culture-dependent and that these culture-specific dimensions are often invisible in dominant culture research and training programs. We believe that intentional, systematic, and repeated efforts are needed to identify and become mindful of these hidden cultural dimensions. To overcome this tendency and bias to ignore the culture-dependent aspects of nurturing environments and effective interventions, we expect students to enroll in culture-related courses early in the program and to frequently seek out and participate in cultural experiences (such as community involvement, workshops, trainings, lectures) throughout their education and career. We expect students to seek out awareness of their own biases and to continually pursue the expanding and challenging of their own cultural comfort zones. As program faculty, we commit to the same expectations of ourselves. Furthermore, as a program we commit to taking action against and rejecting bigotry, discrimination, violence, or intimidation of any kind.