Dr. Gerald Porter's first week on the job landed him in Washington, D.C.,where he spent his time at the annual American Psychological Association conference.
Upon his arrival back to Springfield, we sat down with him to talk business, and a little bit about his vision.
Starting with the short-term, Dr. Porter wants to have an open door to everyone involved in Forest and its daily operations.
"One thing I would really like to do is meet with every single faculty member, staff member, and as many students as possible to get a sense of what people’s concerns are, what people perceive the needs of Forest to be, and just to get better acquainted with people so I can begin to function in a very informed way," said Porter. "I think one of the things you want to be careful about when you are new is not to assume you really know. You need to have a chance to get familiar."
Dr. Porter says Forest has already done a great job of opening up to him, and that's just one of the many things that attracted him to the school.
"I’m very much interested in the clinical practice and psychology, and the outstanding clinic Forest has was very attractive. The fact that it’s a small doctoral level institution was very attractive to me. Small means it is flexible, moveable, and able to accomplish things larger state institutions find more challenging," said Porter.
Dr. Porter has plenty of things he would like to accomplish. His long-term plan includes a few things designed to help Forest to grow as an institution.
"The most important thing is resolving the issues that are important to the CoA. That is my first priority," said Porter.
His time at the APA conference helped with that in many respects, he said.
"It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about professional psychology schools, and accreditation issues. It was also very informative to learn about the larger political context in which APA is functioning, and some of the other challenges that professional psychology schools are dealing with," said Porter.
Secondly, Dr. Porter wants to work on opportunities for program development.
"I think there are great opportunities with Forest in program development. There are new programs that can be developed in expressive or creative arts. There are a number of fields related to psychology that deal with mental health issues, that I think would be in keeping with Forest’s mission. So, I’m very much interested in program development," said Porter.
Additionally, Dr. Porter wants to generate a buzz about Forest, and help with its community presence.
"I’m interested in developing new resources for the institution in development and fundraising. I’m very excited about the prospect of turning other people on to what a wonderful institution Forest is, and having them participate and be able to contribute to the things we are accomplishing and doing here," said Porter.
Now, with his own list of things to accomplish, Dr. Porter is ready to get settled in and is happy to call Forest home.
"Everybody has been treating me well. It has been a wonderful reception. Although, at this point, I’ve only actually been on campus for about two hours, but I'm definitely ready to get started."