Editor’s note: This story has been updated from a previous version.
Robert M. Sellers, chair of the Department of Psychology since 2011, will serve as the university’s vice provost for equity, inclusion and academic affairs. His appointment was approved Thursday by the Board of Regents.
In a memo outlining her recommendation, Provost Martha E. Pollack said Sellers was ideal for the position because of his “extensive and relevant experience” and his perspective as an administrator. He will begin a five-year term in the position July 1.
“I am pleased to be asked to step into this new role, working in an area that is so important in the life of the university and also strategically aligned with my professional pursuits,” Sellers said.
Sellers came to U-M as an associate professor of psychology in 1997, was promoted to professor in 2002, and in 2003 became chair of the personality and social context area in the Department of Psychology. In 2007, he assumed the role of associate chair of the Department of Psychology, and in 2011, was named chair of the department and the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology.
Pollack said that in his role as vice provost, Sellers will provide strategic leadership for programs and policies that result in increased access and success for all students, and the recruitment and retention of diverse faculty. He also will lead efforts in the development and expansion of academic programs that prepare all students for success in a diverse world.
Seller’s primary research interests have focused on the role of race in the psychological lives of African Americans. He and his graduate students have developed a conceptual model of the structure and processes associated with the significance and meaning that African Americans attribute to the significance and meaning of race in their lives.
He has published extensively in the areas of racial identity, racial discrimination and racial socialization and their impact on psychological well-being. Additionally, he has published research on the life experiences of college student-athletes with a particular interest in policies and practices that enhance the psychological well-being and educational opportunities for student-athletes.
Sellers received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Howard University and his doctorate in personality psychology from U-M. He began his academic career at the University of Virginia.