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Professor, Department Head Jessica DeCuir-Gunby Elected Vice President of American Psychological Association’s Educational Psychology Division

Professor Jessica DeCuirt-Gunby

Jessica DeCuir-Gunby, a professor of educational psychology and head of the Department of Teacher Education and Learning Sciences in NC State’s College of Education, has been elected to the role of vice president of the educational psychology division (Division 15) of the American Psychological Association. 

DeCuir-Gunby will serve as vice president for the 2022-23 academic year before serving as president-elect in the 2023-24 academic year and, ultimately, president in the 2024-25 academic year. 

“I am extremely honored to be elected as vice president of APA Division 15,” DeCuir-Gunby said. “Some of the greatest thinkers and leaders in the field have served as president of this division. It is humbling to be considered among these pioneering and groundbreaking scholars. I look forward to providing innovative leadership, challenging traditional thinking and creating new opportunities within the division.” 

DeCuir-Gunby’s research focuses on issues of race and racism in education, an area that has not historically been a mainstream focus in educational psychology. However, over the past few years, she said Division 15 has made a concerted effort to focus on topics related to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) with a particular focus on issues related to race and racism. 

DeCuir-Gunby, who was selected as an American Psychological Fellow in November 2021, serves as chair of the organization’s Race and Diversity Committee, which focuses on DEI issues within the division as well as in the overall field of educational psychology.

She believes her selection as a APA Fellow as well as vice president reflect a change in the field. 

“To be elected as vice president within the same school year as being named an APA Fellow demonstrates that my scholarship and voice is recognized and appreciated within the field,” she said. “More importantly, it shows that the field of educational psychology is becoming more receptive to more critical approaches and the study of race and racism.” 

In her new leadership role with the American Psychological Association, DeCuir-Gunby said she hopes to expand upon current Division 15 efforts by focusing on four major initiatives:

  • Increase and expand membership in the organization, involving more graduate students as well as members from historically marginalized groups to bring different viewpoints and ideas to the group. 
  • Make connections and collaborate with sister APA divisions, including the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race and the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, to combine resources and strengthen the ability to address DEI issues in education. 
  • Address the way DEI is integrated into teaching, methodology and scholarship within the field. 
  • Continue to find ways to encourage those in the educational psychology field to become more involved in policy.

“It is imperative that educational psychologists become more hands on with education policy making, since it has such a major impact on the teaching-learning process,” she said.