Department of Psychology & Philosophy

Welcome to the department of Psychology and Philosophy at Sam Houston State University, where human behavior and human thought intersect in a diverse and inclusive environment. As you peruse the following webpages to ascertain additional information regarding our programs, feel free to explore the various interactive components to learn more about the uniqueness of the faculty, staff, and students within the department.

As evident by the title, our Department consists of applied and scientific training programs in both psychology and philosophy – two fields rich with academic tradition, diversity in thought, and central in furthering our understanding of human development and human behavior. The Psychology and Philosophy programs at SHSU are vibrant, strong, and thriving! The Philosophy program has over 50 declared major/minor students with approximately 1150 undergraduates attending philosophy courses each semester. The Psychology undergraduate program has over 850 declared majors with over 23 full time faculty members. The Psychology program also has four graduate degree programs with a total student enrollment over 100 graduate students accounting for numerous research opportunities.

Both Psychology and Philosophy offer student organizations for support and development of collegiality as well as opportunities for research participation and mentoring. All of our degree programs are rigorous and enable students to be well-situated to meet the challenges of both a growingly diverse world and future endeavors.

If you have any questions, or if you are interested in becoming part of one of the SHSU Psychology and Philosophy programs, please do not hesitate to contact us. I look forward to speaking with, if not greeting, you personally.

Y.I. Tomes Headshot

Y.I. Tomes, Ph.D.,
Chair, Department of Psychology/Philosophy

Sam Houston State University Department of Psychology and Philosophy Letterhead

Statement of Anti-Racist Solidarity

Department of Psychology and Philosophy

To our students of color, we see you, we hear you, we see what has happened, you matter. As a department, we fully acknowledge and recognize the gravity of the moment, and condemn systemic racism and perpetrators of Black violence. Though for many members of the Department, recent events have torn the blinders off, and we respond with shock, disgust, and outrage, these feelings are not new to the members of the Black community – students, faculty, staff, and neighbors. In the words of Michelle Alexander, “We must face our racial history and our racial present.”

All too often racism is construed as the intent to do harm. We reject this definition as insufficient, and instead recognize that the structures that perpetuate systemic racism operate both implicitly and explicitly. Those of us who benefit from the privileges these structures afford recognize the need to be vigilant in demanding accountability not only from ourselves, but from others.

And yet recognition is only part of processing. We understand the importance of also addressing the issue of historical/collective trauma perpetrated by legacies of racism and White supremacy and acknowledge, as consequences of this legacy, impacts to the health, safety, and economic lives of all marginalized communities. We know that this is not enough.

We have an ethical responsibility as educators, therapists, thinkers, scholars, and members of society to develop and implement strategies to dismantle the structures that perpetuate the injustice of White supremacy. As members of the Department of Psychology and Philosophy at Sam Houston State University, we commit to take action in the following four domains:

  1. Education: We will double down on our efforts to develop critical thinkers who understand the complexities of systems of oppression through open dialogue on (the meaning of) race, social justice, and moral responsibility. We will not only integrate this approach more fully into curriculum, but will also confront the dynamics of power that structure the educational environment, both in and out of the classroom. In our clinical training capacities, we will foster clinicians with increased awareness about our responsibility to confront injustice and work to remedy the ways it has impacted the people receiving our services.
  2. Mentorship: We commit to mentorship that enhances student success (as measured by the metrics of retention and graduation with minimal student debt). We will better engage students of color both to support their undergraduate education and to increase their flourishing in post-graduate education, and recognize that a key feature of this engagement is making space in our classrooms, labs, and clinics for the voices of students of color to enrich the learning experience for all.
  3. Research: We will explicitly support research and scholarship on race, social justice, and systemic inequalities. We will promote programming that brings the multi-faceted research projects the Department undertakes to the forefront of Department activity and identity.
  4. Service: We will better serve our local, state, and national communities, including school systems, by examining and remediating institutional practices that maintain an unjust status quo.

We acknowledge the cynicism that is a justifiable response to empty rhetoric and plans for reform. These are not empty promises. We commit to lasting change, which needs time and clear allocation of resources from upper administration at SHSU.

In closing, this is a conversation that, of necessity, will remain open. Our statement of anti-racist solidarity is just the starting point; we welcome and encourage suggestions from the community. Please reach out to us with your thoughts, concerns, ideas, resources, and feelings about how to initiate lasting change that affirms the worth and integrity of Black lives, that affirms, in short that: Black Lives Matter. To facilitate ongoing discussion, email us at or phone 936-294-1174.

In solidarity, and on behalf of the Psychology and Philosophy Department:

  • Courtney Banks
  • Maria Botero
  • Laura Drislane
  • Jessica Elkayam
  • Craig Henderson
  • Chelsea Ratcliff
  • Yuma Tomes
  • Jorge Varela