Title: Psychology Educator Emerita, University Administrator
Company: Harding University
Location: Searcy, Arkansas, United States
Linda Ruth Thompson, Psychology Educator Emerita, University Administrator at Harding University, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Educators for dedication, achievements, and leadership in education.
Dr. Thompson initially was interested in music and vocals, and she received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Harding University (then Harding College) in 1972. At the graduate level, she began to see the need for mentorship programs for at-risk students and decided to go into counseling. Students would attend college for a year and drop out despite wanting to earn degrees. In order to combat this, Dr. Thompson earned a Master of Education in counselor education from the University of Arkansas in 1976 and used her education to help others stay in school. She worked as an adjunct instructor of psychology and sociology at Michigan Christian College from 1977 to 1978 and later as a counselor at both Louisiana State University in Eunice from 1981 to 1983 and Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe from 1983 to 1985 where she helped students learn study skills, goal setting, and other skills to make them successful in college. When she moved back to Harding, one of the faculty members who was on the retention committee at Harding University approached her because he learned of her work and wanted her to suggest how Harding University might help its at-risk students to succeed in college.
Dr. Thompson’s first full-time role with the institution was as the director of the program for academic success from 1986 to 1990. She wrote a developmental education program proposal for Harding University, which the dean and the faculty approved. Due to her program, Harding University’s retention rate of freshmen most at risk of leaving increased from 75% to 90% from fall to spring semesters and 75% percent of the students returned to school in the following fall which was a vast improvement over previous years. Dr. Thompson concurrently taught as an instructor of psychology from 1986 to 1988 and served as director of learning assistance programs from 1987 to 1990 before assuming the role of assistant professor and director of TRIO student support services from 1990 to 2003. It was during this time that Dr. Thompson earned a Doctor of Education in higher education from Memphis State University in 1993, and she remained with Harding University as an associate professor from 1996 to 2007 and full professor from 2007 to 2017. Dr. Thompson was co-PI for a successful grant proposal for the federal TRIO Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, which she directed at Harding University from 2003 to 2017, when she retired and was granted professor emeritus status. In retirement, she continues to sponsor the sign language club on campus.
In addition to her primary endeavors, Dr. Thompson is immensely proud of being named a fellow of the Council of Learning Assistance and Developmental Education Associations and considers this to be the highest honor she received professionally. In addition to this achievement, Dr. Thompson is a past president of the National Association for Developmental Education (NADE); past president, secretary, and journal editor of the Arkansas Association for Developmental Education; curriculum coordinator for the Searcy Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute, and former president and current secretary of University Women Affiliated. She also served on the Accreditation Commission of NADE for 15 years, 10 years as chair. She currently is a caregiver for her mother and continues to work with National Organization for Student Success (NOSS, previously NADE) on a voluntary basis, and, due to time as former president of the organization, is on the emeritus council of the organization.
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