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Matthew Lee: Incorporating an interdisciplinary approach in psychology and human services program

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The Civic Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council is pleased to welcome Professor Matthew Lee as one of our newest advisory council members.  Professor Lee joined the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at CSSH in Fall 2018 as a teaching professor to support the Human Services Program. With a background in counseling and human services in multicultural competencies, Professor Lee hopes to help students from similar and different backgrounds (e.g. race, ethnicity, religious, and political leanings) to be more aware of their identities and experiences of oppression in order to support social change.

Professor Lee has served nearly 20 years with Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA), co-ran its national convention in 2012 and 2013, and is currently a co-finance officer at the association. Before joining Northeastern, Lee led the Cultural and Racial Diversity Studies Lab as the director at James Madison University (JMU) and implemented global education programs in Romania, Germany, and Poland, and a program in Croatia through a William J. Fulbright teaching scholarship. He initiated various projects at JMU examining the campus climate there as it impacted different student groups including those in racial minority, international, and LGBTQ communities. Lee led a team of undergraduate students to survey the campus community on questions of diversity and inclusion, and experiences of discrimination. This project successfully collected a large dataset and has served  as a new, collaborative model for running this type of investigation. Lee and his team actively advocated for policies improving campus climate through strategic partnerships, social media, and faculty workshops on practical skills to use in the classroom.  Lee uses a team-based style of mentoring so that students learn research skills in data management and analysis, as well as professional communication and technical writing.

Lee stresses the importance of understanding local contextual history to explain present-day psychology and for being a good human service provider. He hopes to bring this multidisciplinary model with an emphasis on psychology to his course at Northeastern.  This level of interdisciplinarity is exceedingly rare in psychology-related undergraduate programs, Lee said. At Northeastern, Lee is focusing on filling these gaps through improving the representation of content, people and activities, and elevating historically underrepresented groups. His interdisciplinary coursework in CSSH covers social change and justice at the individual level, as well as how policy shapes individual cultural experiences. Professor Lee is currently teaching Counseling in Human Services, Race, Identity, Social Change, and Empowerment, and Senior Seminar in Human Services.

Published On: February 3, 2019