Welcoming New Members of the 2021 FABBS Board

October 22, 2020

FABBS is delighted to announce our two incoming Board members: Robert Sellers, PhD will serve as a Member-At-Large and Vivian Tseng, PhD in the role of Secretary. They will begin their term in January 2021.

Dr. Sellers is the Vice Provost for Equity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and the Charles D. Moody Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Education at the University of Michigan. He works with university leadership 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.

Following his graduate work, Sellers served as an Assistant and an Associate professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. In 1997, Sellers returned to the University of Michigan to continue his research and teaching efforts, eventually serving as as the Department Chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan from 2011-2014.

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. 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.

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.

Sellers attended Howard University. 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.

In his board statement Sellers explained “Our society is currently facing fundamental challenges and opportunities around issues of access, opportunity, equity, and justice. Historically, the behavioral and brain sciences have played important roles in societal progress in these areas. It is my objective to work with FABBS to ensure that the behavioral and brain sciences play a relevant role in these societal struggles.”

Dr. Tseng is the Senior Vice President at the William T. Grant Foundation, leading the grantmaking programs and initiatives to connect research, policy, and practice to improve child and youth outcomes. In 2009, she launched the Foundation’s initiative on the use of research evidence in policy and practice. She has been instrumental in the growing field of research-practice partnerships, including supporting the creation of field-defining resources and the National Network of Education Research-Practice Partnerships. Tseng has longstanding interests in racial equity in higher education and philanthropy. Under her leadership, the Foundation has strengthened its internal diversity, equity, and inclusion work; increased its grantmaking and capacity support to underrepresented researchers; and created a mentoring program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows of color.

Her studies of racial, cultural, and immigration influences on child development have been published in Child Development and her research on improving social settings and promoting social change have appeared in the American Journal of Community Psychology. She received her Ph.D. from New York University and her B.A. from UCLA. She was previously on the faculty in Psychology and Asian American studies at California State University, Northridge.

Tseng has long been an advocate for high-quality behavioral and social science research and is excited to contribute her expertise on science policy and strategies for connecting research with social policy in her tenure with FABBS. 

FABBS thanks Dr. Lori Foster, North Carolina State University and Dr. Jeff Zacks, Washington University for their service to the  FABBS Board. Juliane Baron, FABBS Executive Director shared, “It was an honor and pleasure having Drs Foster and Zacks on the FABBS board, I am grateful for their important contributions. I can’t promise that just because they will no longer officially be on our board, that I will not continue to reach out to them to seek their counsel.”