Department of Psychology

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Diversity

The Psychology Department at UNLV is committed to enhancing knowledge and awareness of issues of diversity and multiculturalism in research, teaching, and clinical training.

Research

The Psychology Department at UNLV is committed to understanding diversity issues and enhancing multicultural awareness and competence. Several of our faculty and students explore issues of diversity (e.g., ethnicity, race, age, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, disability status) in their research, some of which is highlighted here.

Featured Faculty Diversity Research

Bradley Donohue, Ph.D.

Dr. Donohue's specific interests include the development and adoption of culturally-sensitive, evidence-based treatments (primarily FBT), psychometric development of clinical measures to assist in understanding and measuring treatment outcomes, and improving the functioning of mental health clinics through effective supervision and quality assurance. Although his primary interests concern severely troubled populations (e.g., substance abuse, child maltreatment, family violence, conduct disorders), he is also interested in the concurrent improvement of mental health and sport performance in athletes.

Jennifer Rennels, Ph.D.

Dr. Jennifer Rennels and her students examine how infants' predominant experience with females and familiar race faces affects development of their face processing abilities (visual preferences, face recognition, and social categorization). For example, infants show an enhanced ability to recognize female relative to male faces when several faces are presented because of their predominant experience with female faces during the first year. Infants in Sweden, however, often switch to a male caregiver during later infancy, and this switch enhances their ability to recognize male faces, demonstrating the important role of experience for developing face recognition abilities. In addition, Dr. Rennels and her students examine how these asymmetries in face processing skills might serve as precursors to the development of stereotypes and biases based on a person's gender, race, and attractiveness.

Rachael Robnett, Ph.D.

One of Dr. Robnett’s lines of research focuses on educational equity in fields related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Specifically, she is interested in (a) how career aspirations develop for members of different groups and (b) why women and members of some ethnic groups tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields. Her second line of research focuses on people's preferences within romantic relationships as well as broader gender-role ideologies. She has a particular interest in how these preferences and ideologies differ depending on factors such as ethnicity, culture, and sexual orientation.

Teaching

UNLV is home to a diverse group of undergraduate and graduate students and faculty. In the department of psychology, faculty and instructors are committed to supporting diversity in the wide range of teaching and learning contexts across the university. At the undergraduate level, courses on African-American Psychology (PSY 264) and Multicultural Psychology (PSY 431) are offered and can be viewed here, while diversity issues are integrated across the curriculum. At the graduate level, diversity issues are continually emphasized as they relate to the development of research and clinical competence [History and Foundations of Clinical Psychology (PSY 714); Ethics and Professional Issues (PSY 755); Group Psychotherapy: Principles and Practices (PSY 752); Diversity in Professional Psychology (PSY 750)] and can be viewed here.

Featured Faculty Teaching Diversity

Shera Bradley, Ph.D.

For Dr. Shera Bradley, actively engaging diversity is central to her teaching philosophy. Drawing upon her work as a forensic psychologist with vulnerable and underserved populations, Dr. Bradley challenges her students to broaden their awareness of the unique challenges faced by diverse groups, and strives to instill appreciation for contextual factors at play in people’s lives. She uses real-world examples to encourage discussion of social justice issues in her classroom. In her undergraduate forensic psychology course, Dr. Bradley looks closely at the role of socioeconomic status and race in the criminal justice system, for example, by critically examining disproportionate minority group representation. In all of her courses, she encourages her students to consider the interaction of person and environment (e.g., culture and socioeconomic status) in mental health. Dr. Bradley values experiential learning at both the undergraduate and graduate level. She strongly believes that direct experience is the best way for her students to develop an understanding of populations they will be working with, and ultimately be more effective in their work. In her undergraduate courses, students are asked to take part in experiences that highlight the challenges of diverse groups in Las Vegas. Students are required to attend a specialty court proceeding. When Dr. Bradley teaches graduate students, she asks them to complete an assignment in which they immerse themselves in a population/group/culture different from their own for half a day. Dr. Bradley believes that such experiential exercises help students to connect with course material, see theory in practice, and enhance their overall learning experience.

Andrew Freeman, Ph.D.

Dr. Andrew Freeman teaches Assessment of Children (PSY 715) for clinical psychology doctoral students and Foundations of Abnormal Psychology (PSY 341) for undergraduates. Dr. Freeman strives to integrate scientifically-validated methods of instruction into his teaching. The result is that he blends traditional approaches such as lectures, assigned readings, exams, and papers with modern approaches such as experiential learning, small group projects, and small group discussion. At all levels, Dr. Freeman emphasizes the role of diversity in clinical practice. At the graduate level, he challenges students to think critically about how between and within group differences might limit or enhance the utility of specific clinical assessments. At the undergraduate level, he encourages students to consider how psychopathology and cultural factors might interact to lead to distinct presentations of maladaptive behavior. Graduate students complete a series of hands on learning exercises that help them develop both their skills as a practitioner (e.g., valid administration of an intelligence test) and their skills as a scientist (e.g., determining clinically significant change). These activities give students the opportunity to learn in a series of unique and different environments. Students also learn to begin considering a number of variables that may impact the assessment process such as the child’s first language, disability status, socioeconomic status, access to education, family structure, among many more. At the undergraduate level, Dr. Freeman uses structured small group discussions even in large lecture classes to help students wrestle with complex material. For example, Dr. Freeman regularly asks his class to determine what is and is not a disorder on the first day of class. His undergraduates begin wrestling with the most complex questions that face medical practitioners immediately. Underlying his varied teaching methods is Dr. Freeman’s belief that (a) different types of knowledge require different types of instruction, (b) different students benefit from different types of instruction and (c) there are many ways of teaching the same material but some might be more effective than others. The end result is that Dr. Freeman uses a variety of methods in his teaching to reach as many students as possible. He also regularly asks his students for both formal and informal feedback so that he can modify his style as the semester progresses to best meet his students’ needs. If a teaching approach works for his students, then he is likely to use it.

Vincent Rozalski, M.A.

Mr. Rozalski is a doctoral graduate student and is also an instructor for PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology. He uses a variety of techniques to infuse diversity-related content into his course including formal instruction, assigned readings, discussion prompts, video clips, and exam content. His goal for infusion of diversity-topics into his course is to increase student appreciation of the experiences of non-majority group members. Specifically, he wants students to understand that experiences that are uncommon to majority group members might be normative experiences for non-majority group members, and thus is not “abnormal” or constitutes a diagnosable condition. For example, in the “Motivation and Emotion” chapter that includes the human sexual response, Mr. Rozalski extends this content area beyond what is surveyed within the course textbook. He defines and discusses gender identity, expression, orientation, and genetic biology, and different problems people of gender minorities face. He challenges students to think critically about gender binary categories with discussion prompts, such as, “Exactly when and how did you learn there was a difference between boys and girls?” He also explicitly discusses racial gaps in IQ assessments and the role of factors such as stereotype threat. He uses a video to create a shared experience around race and IQ and then engages in class discussion. Mr. Rozalski does not shy away from including controversial topics in his instruction such as at what age people should be able to decide and take action if their genetically assigned sex does not match their identity, and whether racial gaps in intelligence are real and what causes them. He acknowledges that these topics can be difficult to talk about. Yet, despite any ensuing discomfort he strives to foster student appreciation of the contribution of systemic factors on such controversies.

Clinical Training

The clinical psychology training program at UNLV emphasizes the importance of cultural competence to clinical practice. As a designated Minority Serving Institution (Asian American, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Hispanic students) within a culturally diverse city, UNLV and Las Vegas practicum training sites prepare students to work effectively with diverse clients in assessment, treatment, and consultation.

During the first year of clinical practicum, students are placed at The PRACTICE: A UNLV Community Mental Health Clinic. The PRACTICE provides low-cost individual, couples, and group therapy to the UNLV and greater Las Vegas communities. Clients who seek services at The PRACTICE reflect the ethnic, socioeconomic, sexual orientation and gender diversity of the Las Vegas area, and facilities are fully accessible. During the 2014-2015 academic year, 55% of clients seen at The PRACTICE identified as Anglo-American/Caucasian, 15% as Hispanic-American/Latino, 8% as African-American/Black, 6% as Asian-American/Pacific Islander, and 6% as multiethnic. Consistent with our mandate to provide affordable services, fees are determined based on a sliding scale according to household income, and services are open to individuals of any financial status. In the 2013-2014 academic year, approximately 70% of sessions were provided at a fee of $5 (for annual incomes of under $10,000) or $10 (for annual incomes of under $20,000).

Featured Diversity Training Practica Sites

Family and Child Treatment (FACT) of Southern Nevada is one of numerous practicum sites available for clinical psychology doctoral students. FACT is dedicated to addressing the needs of underserved and diverse populations of Las Vegas metropolitan area. FACT provides sliding scale and free services in areas of abuse, neglect, domestic violence and trauma. All services are offered in English and Spanish and include education and prevention programs, as well as individual, couples’, family and group therapy for victims and perpetrators of violence. In addition, FACT collaborates with other community organizations that offer supervised visitation, therapy for victims of human trafficking, and psychoeducation groups for parents of child abuse victims. Practicum students have the opportunity to work with children and adults from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Another opportunity for clinical psychology doctoral student clinical practica is with the Mobile Crisis Response Team, a service developed and implemented by the Clark County Children’s Mental Health Consortium, Nevada PEP (a non-profit that provides information, services, and training to families of children with disabilities), and the State of Nevada Division of Child and Family Services. The Team consists of psychologists, social workers, and other mental health professionals. Without easy access to crisis intervention and psychiatric stabilization services, families often utilize local emergency departments to obtain behavioral health crisis services for their children. Treatment of behavioral health crisis concerns in the emergency department is a national and local problem. The number of children admitted to local emergency departments for a mental health crisis has continued to increase in past years in Las Vegas. The Mobile Crisis Response Team aims to solve this problem by responding immediately to children and families during times of crisis. Services provided follow a Systems of Care philosophy which states that services must be family-driven, youth-guided, culturally and linguistically competent, and community based. The Team serves anyone needing services, with longer-term services available to youths who are uninsured, under-insured, or have Medicaid Fee For Services. The Team assures safety and continuity of care through individualized strategies implemented through a wrap-around and team-based approach. The Team provides phone crisis triage, mobile dispatch for crisis intervention, linkages to long-term services and supports, and facilitation of hospitalization when necessary (about 15% of crisis calls). Additionally, the mobile crisis team can provide up to 30 days of intensive in-home crisis stabilization services. Practicum students have the opportunity to work on a multidisciplinary team, conduct risk assessments in a variety of home and community-based settings, and provide services to youth and families from diverse ethnic, religious, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Resources

Advising & Student Support

  • Academic Success Center
    • The Academic Success Center offers research-based programs and services geared toward helping you succeed at UNLV. Be sure to utilize academic success coaching, tutoring, supplemental instruction, academic advising, First-Year Seminars for Exploring Majors (COLA 100E), and other offerings.
  • Cultural Competence Academy (CCA)
    • The UNLV Cultural Competence Academy (CCA) provides a series of workshops, seminars, and training sessions designed to provide opportunities for members of the UNLV collegiate community to develop the knowledge, skills and awareness related to cultural issues and working with diverse populations.
  • Disability Resource Center (DRC)
    • The DRC is committed to supporting students with disabilities at UNLV through the appropriate use of advocacy, accommodations, and supportive services to ensure access to campus courses, services, and activities.
  • Financial Aid
    • Our staff is committed to providing accurate, courteous, and timely service to parents and students. The office disbursed approximately $240 million in financial aid to students during the last school year.
  • Jean Nidetch Women’s Center
    • The Jean Nidetch Women’s Center is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all genders through programming, services, and advocacy for the UNLV community.
  • Minority Science Student Program
    • MSSP is dedicated to keeping minority students informed of application procedures, curriculum, and other information regarding admission to professional schools. Also, we provide opportunities for students to become involved in community activities, attend guest lectures by community health-care professionals, interact with faculty, and attend social functions.
  • Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives
    • The committee makes recommendations to the Board intended to create, enhance, promote, and support an educational environment that welcomes all cultural and ethnic minorities; and takes actions appropriate to increase awareness, visibility, and emphasis of campus diversity programs.
  • Office of Diversity Initiatives
    • The mission of the Office of Diversity Initiatives is to provide leadership and support for UNLV’s diversity mission: to nurture equity, diversity, and inclusiveness that promotes respect, support, and empowerment.
  • Office of International Students and Scholars
    • The Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) assists incoming and current international students and scholars (F-1, J-1, H-1B, TN, B-1, and PR pending status), and their families, to make smooth transitions at UNLV into successful academic, professional, and social experiences.
  • Office of Student Conduct
    • UNLV continually strives to establish a spirit of community in accordance with the highest standards of academic excellence and freedom, institutional integrity, and constitutional protections. The UNLV Student Conduct Code is designed to provide basic standards to ensure a means to fulfill this purpose, and is available to assist students struggling on campus.
  • Outreach Undergraduate Mentorship Program
    • The department has an outreach program to mentor undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in pursuing a graduate degree in psychology. The main goals of this program are to provide students who are traditionally underrepresented in the field of psychology with information regarding class work, research, and other areas required for eligibility and entrance into graduate programs
  • Tutoring
    • The Academic Success Center (ASC) offers free tutoring for a variety of UNLV courses throughout the school year. The mission of the tutoring program is to supplement in-class instruction and enhance your overall academic experience by providing a respectful, safe educational environment for learning.
  • UNLV Mentoring Circle
    • The Mentoring Circle is a new program designed to support first generation and underserved students at UNLV. It brings together two important components (personal relationships and knowledge of resources) to help students thrive during their UNLV experience.
  • Veteran’s Affairs Office
    • Our mission is to help UNLV's student veterans and active duty military members successfully navigate the academic and administrative pathways of a college education. One of the primary outcomes of this initiative is the partnering of several units on campus to provide simple, predictable administrative processes for student veterans and military family members.
  • Wilson Advising Center
    • Whether you are already pursuing a degree in the College of Liberal Arts or are still deciding on a field of study, we are here to support and guide you as you work toward your goal of graduation.

Psychological Counseling

  • Student Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
    • College is challenging! Our clinicians are trained to help you work through problems commonly experienced by students of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Jean Nidetch Women’s Center
    • The Jean Nidetch Women’s Center is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for all genders through programming, services, and advocacy for the UNLV community.
  • The PRACTICE Clinic
    • One of The PRACTICE Clinic’s key missions it to provide low cost, quality behavioral, cognitive and mental health assessment and therapy services to UNLV and greater Las Vegas communities.
  • Center for Individual, Couple, and Family Counseling
    • The Center serves as a premier training facility for the UNLV Marriage and Family Therapy Program and provides quality, low-cost therapy to residents of the Las Vegas community.

Scholarship Opportunities for Undergraduates

  • American Psychological Association (APA) Undergraduate Scholarships, Grants, & Awards
    • The APA offers a variety of travel grants, training grants, scholarship for research awards, and general awards. Please visit us to learn more about our many funding opportunities for undergraduate members.
  • Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology
    • Psi Chi offers a variety of awards and grants to undergraduate members. We encourage you to apply for multiple grants and awards throughout your college career.
  • UNLV Consolidated Students of the University of Nevada (CSUN)
    • In all, CSUN offers nine different scholarships and four grants with varying criteria. However, for your convenience, there is only one application for scholarships and one for grants. You will be considered for all scholarships for which you qualify. You must select one grant.
  • UNLV International Programs: Study Abroad
    • Participating in a study abroad program is a significant and exciting part of completing a university degree. Past participants often tell us that their time abroad was the best part of their education. The Office of International Programs is dedicated to helping you plan and participate in your program.
  • UNLV Lied Library Calvert Undergraduate Research Awards
    • The Calvert Award recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate sophistication and originality in research projects. Up to five prizes will be awarded in three categories: Emerging Scholars with a $750 prize, Advanced Undergraduate and Creative Works with a $1000 prize.
  • UNLV McNair Research Institute
    • The Dr. Ronald E. McNair Scholars Institute at UNLV is committed to diversifying the ranks of American faculty and research institutions by encouraging and preparing undergraduate students who are members of underrepresented groups to pursue doctoral studies.
  • UNLV Minority-Serving Institution (MSI)
    • UNLV has been designated a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) by the U.S. Department of Education and is now competing for grants under Title III & Title V of the Higher Education Act.
  • UNLV TheCenter for Academic Enrichment & Outreach
    • The mission of TheCenter is to significantly increase the number of low-income students who are prepared to enter and succeed in post-secondary education.
  • Western Psychological Association
    • The Western Psychological Foundation distributes the funding for the student scholarship awards, research grants, and program development.
  • The Women’s Research Institute of Nevada
    • The Institute helps ensure fully-informed debate, policies, and practices that help create more equitable opportunities for women and girls. Among the issues the Institute has most recently addressed include globalization, leadership training, programs that expand science and technology participation for women and girls, and teen pregnancy prevention programs.

Calendar & Important Dates

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