Every day provides a new opportunity to make a decision that will have a positive influence in the life of a student.
It’s a philosophy that motivates Melanie Tucker Thompson, recently appointed as acting assistant vice president for Student Services.
“The departments that I am leading reach the lives of thousands of students, starting from infancy, and it’s a privilege to work with and lead such talented professionals,” Thompson said. “Getting to support the provision of services where students are at the heart of all that is being done; knowing that each day, each service provided has the potential to help a student find success – this inspires me.”
Thompson joined NIU in July of 2010 as director of the Disability Resource Center, formerly known as the Center for Access-Ability (CAAR).
As acting assistant vice president for Student Services, Thompson will oversee the Counseling and Student Development Center, Disability Resource Center, Military Student Services, Career Services, Students Legal Assistance and Campus Child Care.
“All of these departments provide services for targeted student populations, which I appreciate, because I very much enjoy working as an advocate for others,” she added.
As she transitions into her new position, Thompson is excited for the opportunities that lie ahead and cites her time spent at NIU so far as a tremendous personal resource. “I have gotten to know the campus culture, which helps frame a lot of the decisions I make,” she said.
Thompson received her B.A. in applied psychology from Eastern Washington University, her M.Ed. in counselor education from the University of New Orleans and her Ed.S. in counseling education from Southeast Missouri State University. She currently is working on earning her Ed.D in adult and higher education from NIU.
As a licensed counselor and former crisis counselor at Southeast Missouri State University, Thompson plans to draw from her counseling experience, and other previous experiences, to help her tend to student needs.
“Through my professional experiences inside and outside of higher education, I have had the opportunity to work with constituencies represented in these diverse student populations, which uniquely qualifies me to take on this role,” Thompson said. “Both as an advocate and as an administrator, I have had the opportunity to work with myriad aspects related to the services and resources provided by the Student Services Community of Practice.”
During her term as director of the Disability Resource Center, Thompson fostered the growth of the center so much that the number of students taking advantage of its services doubled.
“Through paying attention to the needs of students, I aspire to broaden and expand NIU’s inclusive campus community to ensure that students can experience a deep level of engagement in their experiences and learning,” she said. “I want students to know, from the moment they step on campus, they have strong advocates for them at NIU and that the necessary resources to be successful exist.”
by Constance Ervins