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Pepperdine | Graduate School of Education and Psychology


Diversity and Multicultural Competence: Respect for All Persons

Psy.D. Program

The University and GSEP in their mission statements set forth a foundation of respect for all persons and the intent to establish a diverse community of scholars and students. Pepperdine's Mission Statement, Pepperdine 2020: Boundless Horizons, asserts that "diversity does not simply enrich the educational endeavor; it is central to it" and draws attention to the Gospel call "to love justice and to treat every person with respect and compassion." Consistent with the University's mission statement, GSEP aspires to be "an innovative learning community where faculty, staff, and students of diverse cultures and perspectives work collaboratively to foster academic excellence, social purpose, meaningful service, and personal fulfillment."

The Psy.D. Program aspires as well to foster a community, respectful of all individuals, reflecting the fullness of cultural and individual differences. The Psy.D. Program affirms this commitment also in light of the standards of the American Psychological Association Code of Ethics: Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (2010). It aims to prepare psychologists to be knowledgeable and to work effectively with "cultural, individual, and role differences" (APA, 2002, p. 1063). It is an expectation that students, faculty, supervisors, and staff (associated with the Psy.D. Program) will commit to treating all persons with respect and fairness; and strive to enhance their awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of demographic and cultural diversity for diversity (e.g., race, ethnic heritage, religious preference, socioeconomic status, gender expression, sexual orientation, disability, and all other dimensions of cultural identification). While we affirm a student's right to maintain their personal beliefs in accordance with their faith and other values commitments, as part of professional role competencies and the professionalism we expect, we require students to develop knowledge and skills to maintain 'demographic competency' (i.e., the ability to work with clients reflecting the full spectrum of demographic variability). In clinical training, students are required to demonstrate "'dynamic worldview inclusivity'; that is, the flexibility and ability to work proficiently, and with honor, respect, and care, with clients whose worldviews differ dramatically from their own" (Bieschke & Mintz, 2012, p. 202). This requirement acknowledges that tensions may exist between a student's personal beliefs and those of their clients; however, given the APA Ethics Code, the profession's social contact with society as health service psychologists, and the University's Mission Statement, students must "demonstrate a willingness to examine their personal values and to acquire and utilize professional relevant knowledge and skills regardless of their beliefs, attitudes, and values." Engaging in dialog, discussion and consultation with Psy.D. Program administration, faculty and supervisors, when belief, values or lifestyle conflicts occur, is reflective of growing professionalism and is a program expectation. Please consult with a member of the Psy.D. Executive Committee (Drs. Shafranske, deMayo, Harrell, and Wood), should you have any questions or concerns about these program expectations.