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Amanda Kim

CNS 220 - Informational Interview #3

On Friday, November 21th I met with Dr. Verbeke, an Organizational Developmental
Specialist and Associate Director of the Teaching and Learning Center, in person in her
office. I received her contact information from Professor Robinson, and contacted her
through her Wake Forest e-mail. After the interview, I made sure to also connect with her
on LinkedIn.
Dr. Verbeke attended Drake University and graduated with a major in psychology. At first,
Dr. Verbeke believed she wanted to go into the field of clinical psychology. However, it
wasnt until she had a heart to heart with her advisor that she realized she was focused on
clinical psychology for all of the wrong reasons. She realized that she ultimately wanted to
fix people, and that in the world of clinical psychology fixing someones problems 1)
isnt her job and 2) wont happen most of the time. Panicked that she no longer knew what
she wanted to do, Dr. Verbeke was relieved when one of her friends mentioned Industrial
Organizational (I-O) psychology. While Dr. Verbeke attended undergraduate school, she
also worked full time in a management position at McDonalds. Her responsibility was to
train new workers, and she loved it. This was when she first realized she had a passion for
teaching. So, naturally, she was excited to learn about the I-O psychology programs that
graduate schools offered.
Dr. Verbeke attended graduate school at Wayne State University. Luckily, she didnt have to
pay for graduate school. In exchange for a free ride, she was a TA. Over the summer she was
lucky to have a TA-ship lined up with the Dean of the Graduate School. So, she spent her
summer working full time as a TA and eventually as a full time instructor. She was even
presented with a teaching award. It was during this TA-ship that she stumbled upon
Instructional Design. Every university has some form of a Teaching and Learning Center.
So, during the TA orientation at the beginning of the summer, she was introduced to the
center and its resources. After spending a lot of time at the Teaching and Learning Center,
Dr. Verbeke was lucky enough to hear about the program for instructional design. Realizing
that this was what she really wanted to do, she met with her advisor and asked to switch
PhD programs. Since the program at Wayne State was part-time, Dr. Verbeke was able to
also work at the Teaching and Learning Center part time. Once she finally finished her PhD,
Dr. Verbeke was hired to work at the Teaching and Learning Center full time. With time,
she was able to slowly work her way up the ladder.
From Dr. Verbekes story, I realized that I also wanted to fix people. Sometimes a
psychologist can help in the best way they can, but at the end of the day it is up to the client
to put the pieces together (1). Also, due to the emphasis on diagnosis, most clinical
psychologists work with individuals who have to deal with lifelong disorders such as
bipolar disorder or schizophrenia (2). It is possible to help enhance quality of life and
perspective, but most of the time people will still continue to struggle. However, I think
part of being in the helping field, means having to accept that there is only so much
someone can do for another individual. For example, a teacher is there to make the process
of learning easier, but at the end of the day it is up to the student to take charge of his or
her own education in order to be successful. So, perhaps clinical psychology is not for me,

Amanda Kim
or I simply need to work on changing my frame of mind and perspective. Only time and
shadowing will tell!
Speaking with Dr. Verbeke ended up clarifying and answers most of my questions about
graduate school within the field of psychology. I realized that I didnt even understand how
graduate schools work. Dr. Verbeke was kind enough to explain that individuals typically
get their masters degree as a part of the PhD program. So, having learned from her
experiences, she emphasized the importance of only pursuing a PhD program if you have a
passion for the topic of interest. Since, I am still undecided as to what career path I would
like to follow within psychology I asked Dr. Verbeke for advice: If a student is unsure of
which psychology program he or she would like to apply for would you suggest that he or
she 1) apply to a masters program instead of to a PhD program or 2) take a gap year to
narrow down current interests? She suggested either, but if I remember correctly, she
might have suggested taking a gap year to explore my interests.
As an Organizational Developmental Specialist and as Associate Director of the Teaching
and Learning Center, Dr. Verbeke explained that she doesnt have a typical day. On any
given day she provides workshops, attends campus meetings, creates programming such as
book discussions, and consults with teachers. Workshops often focus on how to use
technology in the classroom, different teaching strategies and how to define ones teaching
philosophy. Much of her consulting involves redesigning or enhancing course as well as
problem solving.
As a voluntary resource, I liked how she was always working with people who wanted to
learn how to improve their teaching. However, I wondered about the teachers who may
need guidance but dont seek it. I spoke to her about professors who are brilliant in their
fields but who do not know how to teach the material to others. I also asked her if the
Teaching and Learning Center ever seeks students opinions, regarding areas in which
teaching can be improved (aka a needs assessment). This was when she emphasized the
voluntary component of the Teaching and Learning Center. In order to bring in more
teachers, Dr. Verbeke strives to be aware of how the center is viewed. Some teachers
believe the center is for incompetent teachers, when in reality, most of the professors who
do regularly visit the center are some of the best. If the stigma of seeking help could be
lessened, perhaps more professors would use the Teaching and Learning Center as a
resource. Lastly, Dr. Verbeke provided an interesting point of view. As a student, I see my
professors main responsibility as teaching, whereas, professors may feel as if their
research is of a higher priority. Just like students, teachers are also trying to balance their
many responsibilities. Some days they are better teachers, and on others they are better
researchers. An important component of Dr. Verbekes job is being able to see things from a
students point of view as well as from the teachers point of view. This is why attaining
some teaching experience before seeking a job within instructional education is so
important. It allows her to relate to both parties: the teacher and the student. A PhD is also
essential. Since professors are required to have PhDs to teach at the college level, it only
makes sense that the people providing them advice also have the same advanced degree.
Although it is possible to get a job within instructional design, you can do more and are
more likely to be hired with a PhD.

Amanda Kim
Dr. Kristi Verbeke - Associate Director, Teaching and Learning Center
- Organizational Development Specialist
1. Where were you when you were my age, and how did you get from there to where you
are today? Were you ever lost? When did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
-Drake University
*Working full time & school (burned out 2 years off)
-Managed McDonalds (several), training
*Psychology major
-Originally wanted to be a clinical psychologist
-Friend mentioned I-O psychologist
-Wayne State (Graduate School)
*Applied to 15 schools
-Psychology graduate school = COMPETITIVE
*Accepted & taught in cohorts
*Did not pay for finances TA
-Fell behind in research & dissertation
-LOVED teaching
-Received a teaching award
*Summer job = With Dean of Graduate School
-TA orientation = Introduced to Teaching & Learning Center equivalent
-Learned about Instruction Design program
*Swapped programs
*Already had M.A. for I-O Psychology (waste of time?)
*Joined Instruction Design program (within EDU not PSY department)
- ^ Was able to also get a part-time job at the Teaching & Learning Center
equivalent for Wayne State
-Finished PhD
-Hired by Wayne States Teaching and Learning Center equivalent
*Spend time climbing the ladder
2. What has been key to achieving the level of success that youve reached in your life?
-Speak to older graduate students
-Pay attention to who graduates quickly
-Make sure your advisor
*Has an active lab
*Is a supportive advocate
-Visit graduate school before accepting

Amanda Kim
3. Please describe a typical day in the life of your job. How would you describe the
atmosphere/culture of the work place? What is the most rewarding part of your job? What
are the toughest problems and decisions with which youve had to handle?
-No typical day!
*How to incorporate technology
*Teaching strategies
*Developing teaching philosophies (graduate students)
*Book discussions (with teachers & students)
-Campus meetings (Committees)
-NOTE: Voluntary resources
*Graduate programming
*College teaching preparation (new teachers)
*Learning communities
4. How do you balance your personal and professional life? How much flexibility is
permitted within your job (hours, vacation, dress code)?
-Everyone expects women to be able to do it ALL:
-Not everyone can be Super Mom (very unlikely)
*Something must give
-Some days she is a better mother than teacher; sometimes she is a better mother than
wife; she is human
-Cant be the best at EVERYTHING
-Incorporate your interests into your work
*Web design
*Graphic design Offer to create calendars, flyers
*Technology based instructional education

Amanda Kim
5. What skills must someone have to succeed in your field?
-Knowledge of technology
-Ability to work with people (soft skills)
6. What college courses were most helpful to you throughout your professional career? Are
there any extracurricular or other experiences (work, volunteering, internships, etc.) that
would enhance my chances of employment?
-Statistics class
-Research each school & how much research they do
-NEED teaching experience
7. Do you happen to know the current demand for entry-level employees in this particular
-Extremely growing
-Online school is an option (must be from a traditional school)
-Must have a PhD for upper positions
-Instructional designers = adult education or teaching
8. What do you know now that would have been helpful to know when you were in my
-Dig deeper into any career you have considered
-Take the time to explore
-Talk to people who do this work
-Continue to engage in areas of interests that do not necessarily line up with your major
-Basically continue to do what you are doing
9. Is there anyone else in the field with whom you would suggest I speak?
-Ask Robinson about counseling