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J.P. Mees Outstanding Professional Staff Award | University News | Paul Polychronis

Polychronis Receives UCM’s J.P. Mees Outstanding Professional Staff Award

By Mike Greife, April 21, 2016

WARRENSBURG, MO – Paul Polychronis, Ph.D., director of the Counseling Center at the University of Central Missouri, was named the 2016 recipient of the J. P. Mees Outstanding Professional Staff Award during the Professional Staff Breakfast April 19 in the Elliott Student Union.

Jeff Murphy, assistant director of University Relations for media relations and 2015 recipient of the award, introduced Polychronis. The award, the highest honor bestowed upon a member of the university’s professional staff, honors the legacy of the late John Paul Mees, who died in 2000 while serving as vice president of planning and policy/executive assistant to the president at UCM. Mees, who was known as a dedicated and motivated employee, joined the university in 1988 as executive assistant to the president and professor of education. He also served as provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Polychronis received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Vermont and a master’s degree in psychology and Ph.D. in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He joined the UCM professional staff in 1990 as a psychologist in the Office of Counseling and Psychological Services, and he was named interim administrative coordinator and assistant director in 2002. He was named acting director of the Counseling Center in 2009 and director in 2010.

Polychronis is board certified in counseling psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology and is a fellow of the Academy of Counseling Psychology. In his role with the Counseling Center, he has cultivated relationships throughout the campus and community to assess need. He has helped the Counseling Center expand its role at UCM to offer direct assistance to students and provide campus-wide education on mental health issues that affect members of the university community.

Under Polychronis’ leadership, the UCM Counseling Center achieved full accreditation from the International Association of Counseling Services in 2006, making UCM one of only two institutions in the state to attain IACS accreditation. Polychronis also has served as chair of the Board of Accreditation, president and vice president. He also serves on the American Board of Psychology for the American Board of Professional Psychology, the Missouri Eating Disorders Council, and the state-wide Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Planning Group in Higher Education. He facilitated the creation of Ask-Listen-Refer, an online suicide prevention tutorial which was adopted by Missouri Partners in Prevention and is used across the state.

As a recognized leader in his profession, he has provided outreach services through the campus and local community, served on campus and community committees, and has been interviewed by campus, local and national media. He has conducted in-service training and provided consultation services at the campus, local, state and national levels on a variety of related topics.

While at UCM, he has served on the President’s Commission of the Status of Women the Professional Staff Council. He also has served as an adjunct instructor of classes in psychology, counseling and academic enrichment. He received the first Community Action Award at UCM, and formed the first working group that later became the UCM CARE team following the Virginia Tech crisis in 2004.

Polychronis and his wife, Suzy Latare, are residents of Warrensburg.


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