Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion; Chief Diversity Officer; Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Professor of Education, University of Michigan
Talk Title: The Why's and How's of Recruiting a More Diverse Graduate Student Body
Profile: Dr. Robert Sellers is the Vice Provost for Equity & Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer as well as the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Professor of Education. He is responsible for overseeing the University’s five-year strategic plan for diversity, equity and inclusion, and serves as a principal adviser to the President as a member of the University’s executive leadership team. Dr. Sellers works with the Provost on matters related to diversity at the University as well as a broad range of academic issues including the budget, faculty tenure and promotions, and student enrollment. He oversees operations of three central administrative units.
A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Dr. Sellers attended Howard University where he earned All-America honors in football. After graduating cum laude with a bachelor's of science degree in psychology in 1985, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in personality psychology from the University of Michigan in 1990. Following his graduate work, Dr. Sellers served as an Assistant and an Associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. In 1997, Dr. Sellers returned to the University of Michigan to continue his research and teaching efforts. He served four years as the Associate Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan before serving as Department Chair from 2011-2014.
Dr. Sellers’ primary research activities have focused on the role of race in the psychological lives of African Americans. He and his students have developed a conceptual and empirical model of African American racial identity. The model has been used by a number of researchers in the field to understand the heterogeneity in the significance and meaning that African Americans place on race in defining themselves. Dr. Sellers and his students have also investigated the processes by which African American parents transmit messages about race to their children. Finally, his research has examined the ways in which African Americans suffer from and often cope with experiences of racial discrimination. Over the years, he and his graduate students have published extensively on the topic. In addition to his research on the role of race in the lives of African Americans, Dr. Sellers has frequently published research examining the life experiences of student-athletes. He is also one of the founders of the Center for the Study of Black Youth in Context. The center conducts state-of-the-art, action-oriented research on the healthy development of African American youth as well as provides an important training ground for future researchers.
Dr. Sellers has received significant recognition for his research and teaching. He is a past President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues (Division 45 of the American Psychological Association). He is a fellow of Division 8 (Society for Personality and Social Psychology) and Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race) of the American Psychological Association as well as a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. He also won numerous honors and awards including the Theodore Millon Mid-Career Award in Personality Psychology from the American Psychological Foundation, the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program Research Achievement Award, and the APAGS Kenneth & Mamie Clark Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Professional Development of Ethnic Minority Graduate Students.