Barbara Thompson

Interim Director of the Office of Diversity Initiatives 2014 Womens History Month

What is your current job title and responsibilities?
I have been serving as the Interim Director of the Office of Diversity Initiatives (President’s Division) since October 1, 2013.
My job responsibilities include: The administrative duties of the Director, such as supervision of staff, completion of reports, and representing the department at various meetings and functions, and those of my previous position as the Assistant Director, such as providing training with respect to diversity and inclusion to the UCF community, planning and facilitating the Diversity Track of the Summer Faculty Development Conference, and organizing and providing special events and programming.    In an overall sense, my job is to support the fourth strategic goal of university – “to become more inclusive and diverse.”

What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I have been with the University of Central Florida since April 20, 2007 (almost seven years).  During this time, I always have been part of the Office of Diversity Initiatives supporting the fourth strategic goal in a variety of ways –  first as a Coordinator, then as the Assistant Director, and now as the Interim Director.

What is your favorite UCF memory?
I have many wonderful memories about UCF.  My favorite memory is about my first day in my new position.  I went for a walk at lunch as I wanted to start learning the campus.  I remember pausing on the wooden bridge leading to the Student Union and reflecting on how wonderful it was to be on a university campus.  There is idealism, optimism, and energy on a college campus, and at that moment, I knew the best experiences of my working career would happen at UCF.

If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
I would encourage the UCF community to continue to evaluate the campus climate from multiple perspectives and consider ways in which we can make sure that everyone who walks in our doors has the best possible experience.   We are an inclusive community in so many ways, but where can we get even better?

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
I have the good fortune to work with an amazing group of professionals.  We understand that respect and inclusion are key to a strong and productive work environment.  So, my advice would be to continue sharing with others that ultimately, what matters most is how we encourage, nurture, and treat each other.

What is your favorite restaurant or food?
I love Lido’s, a small Italian restaurant near my home.

If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
In lieu of having something named in my honor, I would prefer that people simply remember me near the sculpture in front of the Teaching Academy.  The piece of art is by Don Reynolds and is entitled Enlightenment.  There are two hands in the sculpture reaching out to each other  –  the larger hand of the teacher and the smaller hand of the child.  This work of art represents two ideas to me – the role and power of education and the critical importance of  caring about one another.  I am a career educator and a life-long learner, and I enjoy pausing for a few moments at Enlightenment whenever I visit the Teaching Academy.

Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
Any success I have had here at UCF is because of the colleagues and students who have attended the department’s workshops and events.  I have learned from them all.

Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Dr. David Bjorklund  is a professor that truly inspired me.  He was my thesis advisor at Florida Atlantic University.  He taught me to continue to question what I thought I “knew.”

What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
When I was an undergraduate, I took a course on the works of William Shakespeare.  I not only enjoyed reading his plays, but also found it insightful with respect to human behavior.  It was a fun course!





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Phone: 407-823-4240

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