News

Dear Students,

 

The Fall 2022 STAR application is now available. Students with strong interests in psychological/neuroscientific research are encouraged to apply for admission to the Psychology Department's Psych/Neuro Senior Thesis Advanced Research in the fall of their junior year or the equivalent, such that they will be able to participate in the three consecutive semesters (spring - fall - spring) that are required in the program. 

Please click here for our department's progress report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Activities for 2021-2022. 

The Psychology Department will be holding an information session for Psychology Major, Concentration, and Neuroscience & Behavior Major on Friday March 4th at 4pm via Zoom. 

Zoom link: https://columbiauniversity.zoom.us/j/97121540949

Applications for the Psych/Neuro Senior Thesis Advanced Research (STAR) program are due by November 15th, 2021. Application may be submitted before this date. For more information about the program and a link to the application please see below and/or click here

Professor Daphna Shohamy was recently appointed to the Kavli Professorship of Brain Science and was also named as a co-director of the Kavli Institute for Brain Science. Dr. Shohamy’s research focuses on understanding the process of learning, as well as the neurobiological and cognitive mechanisms of memory and decision making. The Kavli Professorship was previously held by Dr. Eric Kandel, who, along with Dr. Rafael Yuste, have been named as founding directors of the Kavli Institute.

The tragic murder of George Floyd happened one year ago this week.  His death followed and was preceded by the deaths of countless other black men and women at the hands of police.  In the wake of this tragedy last year, members of the Columbia University Psychology Department sent a letter asking, “what can we do now – as individuals, a department, a university, an academic discipline – to contribute to making Black Lives Matter in reality rather than simply in rhetoric.” To begin the conversation, they highlighted areas of focus for meaningful change, which we reference throughout this document.

A year later, we are taking an opportunity to look back at the steps that members of the Psychology Department have taken to begin to address these suggested areas of focus. While these steps are the David to the Goliath of structural racism and oppression, they represent our humble commitment to educate ourselves, to be better in the pursuit of interrupting and dismantling academic exclusionary practices, and to pursue social justice.

This link here will take you to a document that offers a sample of the ongoing efforts. The hard work is just beginning. In this report on activities from the past year, we especially highlight suggested focus areas from our departmental letter last year that we intend to work on in 2021-2022.

Professor Geraldine Downey has been named an inaugural recipient of Columbia’s new faculty service award!

This award recognizes contributions to the University’s diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

Congratulation to graduate student Christopher Medina-Kirchner on being selected as one of the recipients of the 2021 Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student Instructor

Have questions about the Psychology or Neuroscience majors, or just interested in meeting students in the department and talking to department advisors? Then join us on October 21st for our Social Tea Event! 

The Psychology department has recently updated the Psychology Major and Concentration requirements for students entering Fall 2020 or later. If you are a new student please take a look at our major and concentration pages for these updates. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, GRE scores will be waived for applicants applying for FALL 2021 admission.

The Psychology Department is now accepting applications for TA positions for the Fall 2020 semester. If you are interested in being a TA in the Fall, please submit an application here

Department of Psychology Statement on Racism, Social Justice, and Change:

The murder of George Floyd and other Black men and women in encounters with police reflects the enduring racism that permeates the daily lives of Black Americans. The Psychology Department condemns racism in all its manifestations, expresses solidarity with protestors who seek meaningful and lasting change, and supports groups, such as Black Lives Matter, that are actively working towards these lasting changes in social and governmental policy.

A question for all of us is what can we do now – as individuals, a department, a university, an academic discipline – to contribute to making Black Lives Matter in reality rather than simply in rhetoric.

So, what can we do as a department in this time of grief and outrage? 

As an initial step, the Psychology Department is forming an Equality and Social Justice Committee (ESJC), led by Geraldine Downey and Valerie Purdie-Greenaway, that has begun generating suggestions for what we can do.  To get the conversation started, here are some initial suggestions:

  • Seek partners to make psychology more integral to the social justice and anti-racism work being done on campus and in the community.
  • Commit to reviewing courses to ensure incorporation of social justice and anti-racism content.
  • Develop and implement a plan to make psychology an attractive major for underrepresented minority undergraduates. For example, what ways do introductory classes need to change? How can we support minority undergraduate involvement in research?
  • Develop and implement a plan to make our department an attractive option for minority graduate students, including considering changes in how funding is provided.
  • Consider what research and research training and recognition would look like if we prioritized as a guiding principle a just society.
  • Recognize work (research, papers, teaching, public engagement) in social justice/anti-racism with awards.
  • Be intentional about colloquium and Monday seminar meetings so that issues of community concern are included.
  • Participate in an interdisciplinary course on Frontiers of Justice. This initiative of students connected with the Center for Justice will focus on contemporary justice issues.
  • Continue our department’s commitment to the Justice-in-Education (JIE) initiative to provide educational opportunities to people in prison and when they come home from prison. 

The steps listed above do not, of course, represent all the ways in which we can and should act.  The conversation about how to enact just and fair social reforms is complex, has been going on for a long time, and we all have much to learn about how we can contribute from the extraordinary work of scholars and activists addressing anti-black racism. There here are many reading lists to draw on and suggestions for action, including bit.ly/ANTIRACISMRESOURCES.

Towards this end, the Department supports all members of the Psychology Community – undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, alum, staff, faculty – who seek to engage in conversation and discussion about ways that we can act moving forward. 

We look forward to engaging in this discussion with the Psychology community and encourage your input. We will be back in touch about next steps.

Professor Daphna Shohamy recently wrote an article on CNN's Social Commentary Opinion section, titled "Lentils or Pasta? Why Small Decisions Feel As Tough As Big Ones In This Time of Crisis. You can read the full article by clicking on the link below:

https://www.cnn.com/2020/04/13/opinions/coronavirus-brains-decisions-shohamy-opinion/index.html