Dr. Donna Thomas has been appointed Chief Academic Director for Partnerships at Louisiana Tech University, reporting to the Provost, Dr. Terry McConathy.
Dr. Thomas has served as chair of the Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Department at LaTech for almost 10 years and is the George and Jean Baldwin Endowed Professor.
In the announcement, Dr. McConathy said, “Dr. Thomas will be responsible for the oversight and direction of development and implementation of academic programs that support Louisiana Tech University’s mission, vision, and strategic objectives. “As Chief Academic Director for Partnerships, Dr. Thomas will manage academic partnerships with external stakeholders and funding efforts for academic partnerships and curricula design; enhance and implement non-traditional student engagement opportunities; organize and support faculty expertise for curricular delivery in emerging program areas; and organize programmatic approvals and accreditation of transdisciplinary programs,” Dr. McConathy said.
“The Chief Academic Director for Partnerships will collaborate with division leaders, deans, associate deans, unit heads, and faculty to identify extension, dual enrollment, online and remote programs, and academic pathways that explore, develop, implement, and integrate programs supporting the University’s mission,” he said.
Dr. Thomas has served as the Department Chair of the Psychology and Behavioral Sciences from 2012. In this position, she managed and coordinated all the activities of the department including instruction, research, services, and administrative activities. She was also the Director of Training for the counseling psychology doctoral program from 2006 to 2012. She has chaired and participated as a committee member for numerous dissertations, and has taught psychology at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Since 2014 she has also served as the NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative. In this position she represented Louisiana Tech University and its faculty in the relationship between the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Conference USA (CUSA), and the campus. She represents LaTech as the voting delegate to NCAA and C-USA meetings and serves on NCAA councils, cabinets, and committees as appointed. She has assisted with interpretation of NCAA and C-USA legislation and policies.
In this role, Dr. Thomas reports to the faculty and administration on the academic well-being of student- athletes. And she ensures, either directly or indirectly, that student-athletes meet all NCAA, conference, and LaTech requirements for eligibility to practice, financial aid, and intercollegiate competition.
Dr. Thomas also monitors the student-athlete experience and is involved in the personal and academic welfare of the student-athletes. She works with the athletic director and senior staff to educate student-athletes about NCAA rules, and devise and implement compliance programs within the athletics department. She meets regularly with the Director of Athletics and serves as the Senior Faculty Advisor on athletics to the university president. She is a liaison between the faculty and administration and the intercollegiate athletics program. She also provides periodic reports to the President’s Athletics Council relating to matters of academic integrity, performance of student-athletes, rules compliance or violations, and other matters related to the athletics program.
Dr. Thomas meets with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and serves as Dr. Donna Thomas Takes Top Position, Chief Academic Director for Partnerships, at Louisiana Tech continued chair of the President’s Athletics Council. She was a member of the council beginning in 2007. The Council reviews intercollegiate athletic programs and activities and makes recommendations to the President for his consideration. Athletics Council members are appointed by the President. She has also served on the Student Athlete Welfare Committee.
In her duties for the psychology department, Dr. Thomas has participated in funding and grants including Increasing Diversity in the Doctoral Student Populations at Louisiana Tech University, BoR/SREB Doctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity, and Third Judicial District Drug Court Treatment.
Her collaborative publications include, “Psychological effects of intensive and comprehensive training centers on blind and visually impaired adults. Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research, “Facebook and Romantic Relationships: Intimacy and Couple Satisfaction Associated with Online Social Network Use,” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Measuring students’ perceptions of faculty competence in professional psychology: Development of the Perceived Faculty Competence Inventory. Training and Education in Professional Psychology.”
Dr. Thomas’s professional service includes serving as Member of Editorial Board for the Journal of Rural Mental Health, published by the American Psychological Association; Regional Advisory Committee member for MacArthur Models for Change (Louisiana) grant; Ad hoc reviewer for Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking; Reviewer, proposals for annual convention, American Psychological Association, Division 17; Executive Board Member, Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs; LaTech College of Education Administrative Council, Special Initiatives Committee, Committee on Recruitment, Diversity, and Global Issues.
She has been affiliated with the American Psychological Association, Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology, Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs, Louisiana Psychological Association, Louisiana Counseling Association APA Division 17–Counseling Psychology.
She has received the Outstanding Service Award, College of Education, and the Outstanding Service Award, Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences numerous times, including the Special Award of Merit for Outstanding Service.
In the past, Dr. Thomas also served as clinical associate for the Counseling and Psychology Clinic in Monroe, and as administrator and owner for Rehabilitation Services of Louisiana LLC.
Dr. Thomas earned her master’s degree in experimental psychology from the University of Louisiana Monroe, and her doctorate in counseling psychology from Louisiana Tech.