Dear UVM Community,

I write today with mixed emotions. Scott Thomas, dean of the College of 
Education and Social Services (CESS), has accepted a role as the newly 
endowed John P. ‘Jack’ Ellbogen Dean of the University of Wyoming’s (UW) 
College of Education and will be starting his new position on July 1. 
While I’m sad to see Scott leave UVM, I know he will be an exceptional 
leader at UW, and I look forward to his continued success.

Scott joined the UVM community in 2016 and, throughout his tenure, he 
has always prioritized student and faculty success. His strategic 
thinking and collaborative approach have fostered numerous advances for 
CESS and the university as a whole. This includes his service as Interim 
Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences—a role that, as a 
former CNHS dean, is near and dear to my heart, and a responsibility 
that Scott executed in exemplary fashion.

Always one to emphasize the value of partnership, Scott is quick to 
share credit for the progress made during his tenure. With that noted, I 
want to underscore that his leadership has fostered many 
accomplishments. These include the development of a five-year strategic 
plan focusing the college on “Vermont Distinction” through its schools, 
families, and communities. Scott elevated community engagement through 
local early learning partnerships with the Greater Burlington YMCA and 
the Winooski Unified School District, college access work with College 
for Every Student, and sustainability education partnerships with 
Shelburne Farms. In fact, CESS has contributed more than 600,000 hours 
of fieldwork over the last four years.

Scott also prioritized a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion action plan 
drawing focus on people, place, and programming in the college. This 
work has contributed to CESS being among the leading colleges across the 
university in student success, retention, and degree completion.

New strategically centered programs in Cultural and Linguistic 
Diversity, Place-Based Education, Trauma-Informed Practice, and Computer 
Science Education are testament to Scott’s forward-facing approach. At 
the same time, this work is complemented by Scott’s understanding of our 
history and legacy, as is evidenced by the First Nations Scholarship 
he championed.

There are numerous other contributions that Scott has made to UVM and 
the broader Vermont community. And while we will miss having him here on 
our UVM campus, it’s good to know he will extend his impact through this 
new appointment at UW.

Looking forward, I am also pleased to announce that Katie Shepherd, 
Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in CESS, has graciously agreed to 
serve as Interim Dean. Katie is the CESS Levitt Family Green and Gold 
Professor.  Her scholarship focuses on educational leadership and 
family-professional partnerships that support children and youth with 
disabilities. She is the recipient of the 2013 Kroepsch-Maurice Award 
for Excellence in Teaching and the 2019 President’s Distinguished 
University Citizenship and Service Award.

Best wishes,

Patricia A. Prelock, Provost and Senior Vice President