Each year, the American Psychological Association (APA) awards recipients for their continued contributions to the world of psychology. This year, Adler University Chicago alum Dr. Hideko Sera received the 2021 Presidential Citation for her leadership in the psychology education and training community and her longstanding commitment to mentorship, scholarship, and advocacy to advance equity, diversity and inclusion in higher education.
The American Psychological Association is the leading scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. Its members include over 122,000 psychology researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students.
Dr. Sera received her masters and doctorate degrees from Adler University Chicago. She is the first Japanese national to receive a doctorate in Clinical Psychology from an APA-accredited program. Since leaving Adler Chicago, Sera has spread her expertise in higher education psychology programming across the United States, including currently serving her second term on the APA Board of Educational Affairs, one of five boards within the APA. Dr. Sera’s connection to the APA is extensive. She was a 2014 member of the Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology. She also served as a liaison to the Committee on Ethnic Minority Affairs and the Committee on Early Career Psychologists while being on the Executive Board of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology, for which she served as President in 2015.
After five years as Associate Dean of the School of Education at the University of Redlands in California, Dr. Sera currently is the Director of Equity, Inclusion and Belonging at Morehouse College, the nation’s only HBCU liberal arts college for black men and men of color with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ambassador Andrew Young, film director Spike Lee and Senator Raphael Warnock to name a few prominent alums. When Dr. Sera initially began working at Morehouse College last January, her title focused on diversity, equity and inclusion. This August, she requested a change to include “belonging.” She believed fostering a sense of belonging was critical for the College, especially for students, as it aligns with its mission to “develop men with disciplined minds who will lead leadership and service.”
For Dr. Sera, belonging is a familiar concept through Alfred Adler’s psychological theory. When one feels connected in their community, they ultimately fuel positive change within it. Dr. Sera knows that a sense of belonging can impact one’s well-being.
When continuing her education, Dr. Sera felt called to the works of Alfred Adler. “My whole being aligned with his theory, it made sense to me…in terms of life’s philosophy, it made complete sense to me.” She then moved to Chicago to pursue her degree at Adler University. She notes she is incredibly thankful for the mentorships and people she met at Adler, such as the late Dr. Harold Mosak, who provided her additional training at his practice and served as her dissertation chair. When asked if she had one piece of advice for Adler students today, Dr. Sera states, “social justice takes stamina…know your gift and know where you can make the most impact and do so in the most sustainable way.” She goes on to reference Adler’s concept of Gemenschaftsgefuhl (Social Interest), noting that we should all constantly ask ourselves how to better impact the world around us.
Congratulations to Dr. Sera on her 2021 APA Presidential Citation. Adler University is honored to have distinguished alumni like Dr. Sera who continue to build on the works of Alfred Alder and Adler’s social justice mission.