Gary Bond on Psychology and Being Department Chair

Gary Bond giving a research presentation in Puebla Mexico at a CONAHEC faculty exchange at Universidad Anahuac Puebla in October 2019. The Chase photo: submitted

Eastern New Mexico University’s department of psychology chairman is Gary Bond who has spent time conducting research and field experiments since he was a college student. His expertise in his field has helped him reach the chair position.

As an undergraduate student at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, Bond originally majored in social work but had a great opportunity to work with professor Laura Thompson as a volunteer research assistant on an experiment on the relationship between skydiving and memory. After an introduction to field experimentation, he quickly changed his major to psychology.

Bond has a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology, which involves the study of how people sense and perceive the world, how they think, how their memory operates, how they experience emotions, how they solve problems, how people make decisions, and how they use language to represent lots of things that go on in their minds.

He mentioned that his specialties are in memory, emotion and language, which has helped him study the way people lie. His research and work also include how people remember traumatic experiences and how they cope with other extreme situations such as a natural disaster. “The way people use language gives us a window into their mind…you can get all sorts of ideas about how they think, their biases, their quality of education, their level of intelligence, their emotions and all sorts of things,” he said. “That’s what I love.” His most recent work with students was published on deceptive language used in the presidential debates in 2016.

Bond came to ENMU in fall 2014 after working as an assistant and then associate professor and eventually becoming the chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. When he came to ENMU he was first mentored by Tom Brown, who was then the chair for the Department of Psychology. Bond became chairman in the fall of 2017 and has since loved teaching here.

As chairman he has a wide range of responsibilities that help the department run smoothly, such as setting class schedules, responding to students, making sure the department can staff classrooms, keeping the budget, making sure that faculty have ways to travel and making sure that faculty work with students both in and outside of the classroom.

As chairman, there are bound to be some challenges to overcome, but Bond mentioned that psychologists are people who understand challenges and have an insight into the best methods to solve problems. He said serving students is the overall priority and he does his best to provide psychology students with opportunities for research, internships and community service.

When it comes to teaching his students, he said it is important to have discussions with them and learn how psychology impacts the way they view their lives. He mentioned that giving lots of feedback when teaching online and on Mediasite is important in order to have “virtual discussions become an extended conversation in which we connect and learn from each other.”

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