Jamie Thompson, longstanding director of Student Involvement and Trinity alumna, has recently taken on an additional set of responsibilities under the title of Assistant Dean of Students. This will be her fourth role in the division of student life, with her career spanning eleven years.
“I get to fill a void in the student retention conversation on campus ensuring students have reasons to stay here, that they want to be here,” Thompson said.
This altered position is closely linked to the Retention & Graduation Task Force (established in May of 2019).
“My work initially is going to be doing some research on campus: meeting with others, listening to faculty and staff, [and]understanding what they hear and see from students as it relates to retention,” Thompson said.
The Retention & Graduation Task Force outlines three target areas for improvement: micro-level or individualized strategies, macro-level or institutional strategies and forward-looking institutional planning for retention purposes. In this new capacity, Thompson is able to focus on the long-term macro-level of student retention in tandem with forward-looking institutional planning.
“[I’ll be] bridge-building between academic affairs, student life and alumni relations and development, so this allows me to reach and connect and partner with lots of different entities,” Thompson said.
Thompson’s dedication to Trinity students shows when discussing her new role and responsibilities.
“If students got to explore and think about their responses to ‘who am I’ and ‘what’s my place in this world,’ that would be another way for me to think about macro-level: where are people having those conversations, how can we strengthen those, how do we need to build those out so that this is an intentional experience that students have at Trinity,” Thompson said.
Even though it’s quite early in the process, she already has a few long-term goals in mind.
“What we may find is that [there are] really great things happening in different corners of campus life, but maybe other folks don’t know about it, or we haven’t leveraged some of those pieces to make them stronger or to make them more accessible to larger groups of students. Another possible outcome might be the response to ‘What makes Trinity unique?’, ‘Is there a signature program or experience?’,” Thompson said.
According to co-chairs David Tuttle and Michael Soto of the Retention & Graduation Task Force, Thompson was seen as the ideal person for this new role because of her extensive experience and stellar reputation
with Trinity staff, faculty and students. She possesses all the skills necessary to see this project through and ample excitement to boot.
“The natural person to consider for [this role] was Jamie Thompson… She loves to look at big-picture programs and to see the possibilities of what can be. She’s earned the right to take on more responsibilities because of the quality of her work and because of how respected she is as a leader and how hard she works and how invested she is in the university,” said David Tuttle, Associate Vice President for Student Life, Dean of Students and co-chair of the Retention & Graduation Task Force.
“[Thompson] has credibility with professors and directors, they know that she knows what she’s talking about; they know that she’s a thoughtful person and a creative partner in creating opportunities for students and I think that’s going to be important to make sure that there’s buy-in across the board… She knows Trinity; Trinity is in her bones,” said Dr. Michael Soto, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and co-chair of the Retention & Graduation Task Force.
This opportunity comes just in time to accompany her journey towards a Ph.D. in Organizational Change and Leadership.
Thompson intends to be the metaphorical glue forming bonds across systems and institutions while striving for a more cohesive and enjoyable Trinity experience.