Thelma B. Thompson
Writer and Educator
Dr. Thelma B. Thompson is the author of numerous essays, journal articles, editorials, and books that mostly address issues in education. She was the President of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland, from July 2002 to August 2011. A native of Jamaica, Dr.Thompson earned a diploma in teacher education from Bethlehem Teachers College in Jamaica. Her family moved to the Washington area in the 1960's. She later earned her Bachelor of Art (cum laude) in 1970, Master of Arts degree in English in 1972, and her Doctoral Degree in English literature in 1978, all at Howard University.
Dr. Thompson has taught at all levels of education (from elementary to graduate school) since beginning her professional teaching career in 1960 in Jamaica. In the 1970's, she taught English and Literature at Howard University, the City University of New York. and Bowie State University. Dr. Thompson began her 11-year service to the University of the District of Columbia in 1979 working on various capacities, including Director of Freshman English, Assistant Chairperson in the Department of English, and ultimately Associate Dean and Professor in the College of Liberal and Fine Arts. From 1990-1998, Dr. Thompson was the Dean of the School of Art and Letters at Norfolk State University. She later served as the Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Norfolk State from 1998-2002 before becoming President of University President of University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Considered an expert in accountability and accreditation, Dr. Thompson provided documented excellence in leadership while president of University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where she led the charge to assess student learning outcomes. Over 20 programs received initial accreditation because of her emphasis on quality. She realigned the University, creating the new School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.
The Modern Language Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, Phi Beta Kappa and the African-American Writers' Guild are among her many professional associations. She is the former national president of the College Language Association and a co-founder of the Caribbean Studies Association. Dr. Thompson also has served as co-chair of a Southern Association of Schools and Colleges leadership task force for redesigning the accreditation guidelines for a number of southern institutions.
Dr. Thompson has been the recipient of several scholastic honors and awards, including: election to Phi Beta Kappa; Outstanding Alumni of the Year from Bethlehem Teacher's College; Honorary Doctorate Degrees from Walter Sisulu University in South Africa and Sojourner Douglas University in Maryland; and a special award from the University of the District of Columbia for promoting understanding between peoples of different cultures.
In October 2011, she received the Educational Leadership Award from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Among her accolades, Dr. Thompson was named by the African- American Golfer's Digest as one of its "2009 Outstanding Leaders in Golf," and has been recognized as one of the "100 Most Important Blacks in Technology" by the Black Engineer and Information Technology Magazine. She received the 2005 Distinguished Alumni Award from Howard University; was recognized by Essence Magazine in 2005 as one of the " Women Who are Shaping the World"; was named one of Maryland's Top 100 Women in 2004; and received in 2006 the Governor's award for innovative leadership.
Dr. Thompson lives by the Golden Rule and believes in character education that equips people for a life based in universally respected values. She believes in optimism, pragmatism, and human potential for good.
In the video below Dr. Thelma B. Thompson describes her background and inspiration for writing her new book "Bay Leaves and Cinnamon Sticks Life Is."