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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.
Patricia A. Prelock,
Provost and Senior Vice President