James Hoelzle

James Hoelzle

Clinical Psychology, University of Toledo, 2008

Current Positions

Assistant Professor of Psychology, Marquette University

How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

For whatever reason, I didn't learn about personality assessment as an undergraduate student. I really became interested in the topic when I worked as the Editorial Assistant for JPA during my first year of graduate school. The experience was great. It was a very unique way to learn and see how projects change through the peer review process. There was lively debate about the RC scales that caught my attention!

Tell us about your current job. We are interested in hearing about the different things that people do who work in the area of personality assessment.

I have been teaching and doing research at Marquette University for a little over two years. I teach Cognition and Psychological Testing courses to undergraduates. I really enjoy explaining how tests are developed and used. I also teach an Adult Assessment graduate course. We primarily discuss the utility of cognitive and personality tests. I supervise graduate students in our Training Clinic when they conduct assessments. It's really remarkable to watch students' confidence grow during their first few years of clinical work.

What are the most interesting and/or meaningful aspects of your job?

There are a number of individuals in psychology who have really helped me to understand key issues and focus my interests. I try to interact with my students in a way that mirrors how others have treated and mentored me. I enjoy the process of helping students explore topics, and it's really rewarding to watch them develop interests and identify career goals.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

Greg Meyer and Joni Mihura talked me into attending the SPA meetings in Miami many, many years ago. It was one of the better decisions I've made! I had a great time and have gone to the meetings more or less every year since.

How has SPA impacted or benefited you or your career?

I am thankful for the support SPA has provided to me over the years. It's been remarkable, and I am very grateful. As a student, it was helpful to interact with students in other programs and watch their careers unfold. I have benefited tremendously from picking fellow SPA members brains for career advice and guidance. I also benefit from attending the annual meetings. I always find it rewarding to go and catch up with colleagues. I learn about new developments in assessment and always return home with renewed energy and new ideas.

As we look forward to SPA's 100th anniversary in 2038, what do you think is important in order for the field of personality assessment to thrive and to benefit others?

I often think about how we evaluate whether the assessment process is "valuable." I think clinicians, clients, and organizations that pay for mental health services look at that question in very different ways. I think this disagreement will need to be resolved somehow in a way that is acceptable to all parties. I believe in assessment, and SPA is filled with bright and committed clinicians. I'm optimistic this will get worked out, and personality assessment will have an important place in healthcare.

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