Dr. Monica Thompson - University of Houston
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Dr. Monica Thompson

Executive Director, UCS

Monica Thompson, a seasoned professional with over 25 years of diverse experience, has made significant contributions to various facets of the academic and professional landscape. She has excelled in various roles from human resources in corporate and non-profit settings to administration and education in postsecondary schools.

Monica's exceptional leadership abilities have been prominently showcased through her recent tenure as the Interim Associate Vice Chancellor/Associate Vice President for Student Affairs from September 2022 to January 2024. Preceding this significant role, she served as the Interim Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs from November 2021 to September 2022. Notably, during this extended 26-month period, Monica adeptly managed these concurrent responsibilities while also serving as the Executive Director of University Career Services. This underscores her remarkable capacity to navigate diverse and challenging roles simultaneously, demonstrating a high level of proficiency and dedication to the university's mission.

Since Monica's arrival at the University of Houston in 2014, she has been at the forefront of shaping a comprehensive strategy to engage students in career exploration, skill development, and experiential activities. Leading a dynamic team of 25 professionals, Monica has successfully overseen the delivery of career services to over 47,000 undergraduate and graduate students, along with providing support to alumni job seekers.

Under Monica's tenure, the University of Houston has witnessed transformative successes, including a remarkable 40% increase in student utilization of career services and a 49% increase in early usage by sophomore students. She has fostered collaborations with colleges and campus partners, resulting in the hosting of successful graduate school and career fairs across various disciplines. Her efforts have led to the development of a career planning course for liberal arts majors within the largest college at UH, impacting over 10,000 students.

Monica's commitment to student success is further reflected in her collaborative initiatives with colleges, the Registrar's Office, CITE, and Institutional Research to enhance data collection on graduation and internship rates, achieving response rates of up to 90% in some cases.

Prior to joining UH, Monica spent 13 years at The University of Texas at Austin, where she played a pivotal role in professional development opportunities at McCombs' BBA business career services, ranked second in the nation. Read more about her past experience.

Monica is a passionate advocate for developing students into tomorrow's leaders and has actively engaged with the Board of Visitor's Student Success Task Force, connecting employers for volunteer and internship opportunities.

A native Houstonian and first-generation college graduate, Monica holds a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D) in Ethical Leadership with an emphasis on Social Justice from the University of St. Thomas. Her commitment to making UH a career-focused campus is evident in her efforts to rebrand "soft skills" as success skills and integrate them into the academic experience for all students. She holds a Master of Science in Educational Administration Human Resources Development from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Management with a minor in Accounting from Texas State University. Her areas of expertise include organizational change, career development, career coaching, career services programming, organizational learning and development, talent acquisition and recruitment, management training, and human resources administration.

Monica's leadership transcends her roles in career services, showcasing her active engagement in various academic and experiential committees. She has taken on pivotal responsibilities, including co-chairing the Implementation of UH Strategic Plan for Increased Experiential Learning. Monica's commitment to advancing education is evident through her involvement in key committees such as the QEP Lead Evaluator and SACSCOC Reaffirmation Committee.

Her recent appointment to the UH SACSCOC Steering Committee highlights her dedication to shaping the university's accreditation and academic standards. Monica is also actively contributing to the College of Technology Transition Task Force, demonstrating her commitment to fostering growth and development within specific academic domains.

As a valued member of the CITE (QEP) Advisory Board and CITE Internship Council, Monica plays a crucial role in steering the university's academic direction. Her consultancy services further underscore her dedication, serving as the QEP Lead Evaluator, contributing to the SACSCOC Reaffirmation Committee, and providing expertise in external reviews for Career Services.

Monica's impact extends beyond committee involvement. She has been instrumental in delivering professional development training for both faculty and students, enhancing their skills and contributing to the overall academic excellence at the University of Houston and beyond. Monica's multifaceted contributions exemplify her commitment to elevating the educational experience and promoting a culture of continuous improvement.

In addition to her academic achievements, Monica has served as the President for the Houston Consortium of Career Centers (HACCC) and participated in distinguished programs such as UH's Inaugural ProPel Executive Leadership Development program and NASPA's Institute for Aspiring Assistant Vice Presidents (AVP) of Student Affairs, NASPA’s Institute and AVP Symposium.

Monica has published articles in Advances in Human Resources Development, completed the National Diversity Council's Unconscious Bias Training Certificate Program, and actively served on the Office of Equal Opportunity Services hearing committee for Discrimination & Harassment cases. Additionally, she is a certified Mediator, Career Coach, Myers Briggs, Birkman, True Colors, Spiritual Gifts and DISC facilitator, and Stephen Minister.

Apart from her professional commitments, Monica enjoys spending time with friends and family, pursuing artistic endeavors, and hosting social gatherings. Married for over 25 years, Monica and her beloved husband share the joy of having a daughter and son.

As of January 17, 2024, Monica will resume her role as the Executive Director of Career Services, bringing her wealth of experience and leadership back to the forefront of fostering student success and development at the University of Houston.