A diverse discipline that explores the human mind and behavior is at the core of Dr. Stacey Jackson's work as an assistant professor of psychology and counselor in Counseling Services at UW-Eau Claire. Jackson, born and raised in Canada, says many students in her introductory psychology courses aren't majors in the field, but many are curious about the teachings and learn how they can be applicable in all aspects of life.
“I love having the opportunity to expose students to material within a field that they may never have sought out on their own. I often have students reflect on their experience in the course, stating, ‘I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve learned and want to pursue this as a major and look into careers within this field,'" Jackson says.
Incorporating a cultural lens on people's understanding of psychology is at the forefront of Jackson's teaching and research. This is most clearly exemplified in her "Black Psychology" course, which explores the impact that enslavement, racial discrimination and various institutional systems, including education, health care and the criminal justice system, have on the well-being of black people in this country.
“We talk about all aspects of the black lived experience, such as identity development, interpersonal relationships, physical health, media representation, neighborhoods and the black college experience," she says. "Then, we ultimately explore how unique aspects of their lived experience impact their mental health outcomes and consider cultural approaches to healing and restoration.”
As a faculty member, Jackson loves all things Blugold related, including collaborating with her colleagues and doing research with students.
“I had the opportunity to take members of my research lab to a national research conference during my first year as a faculty member at UW-Eau Claire, which I thought was absolutely amazing. When I have discussions with colleagues from other institutions about the student-faculty collaborative research opportunities I have here, they are blown away that UW-Eau Claire provides such rich and valuable opportunities to undergraduate students," Jackson says.
The psychologist knew she wanted to put her passions into action outside of the classroom once she joined the Blugold family in 2017.
“Pretty much from day one, I got involved in the equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives on campus, assisting with efforts to create diversity training for students. My passion for EDI is what inspired me to start the Women of Color Process Group at Counseling Services. This group allows women of color on campus to process the unique experiences they have as college students who identify as ethnically diverse and the role their identity may play in their unique experiences on campus," Jackson says, adding that the group is a way to help women of color feel empowered and have a safe space where they can feel supported and cared about.
“I know what it’s like to be one of a few students of color on a campus and what it’s like to be a part of the majority on campus. I greatly valued my experiences at the two historically black institutions I attended during my undergraduate and a portion of my graduate years because I really felt loved and supported by the students around me. Making the transition to a predominately white institution for my doctoral program, I began to notice differences at times in how comfortable and supported I felt. When you have the pressure and stress — being a student, performing well, doing research, working a job — you want to feel supported, you want to feel connected to something,” she says. “And I was grateful to have had some spaces available to me to receive that support and to feel connected."
The Women of Color Process Group, which Jackson facilitates, meets weekly in Counseling Services and provides a space for women of color to discuss topics relevant to their experiences, including race relations, cultural adjustments, gender equality, media influences on self-esteem and body image, romantic relationships and overall issues related to being a woman of color and a college student at UW-Eau Claire.
Watch the video above to learn more about Dr. Stacey Jackson!