From Post Student to Professor to Program Chair: Sara Thompson

Now that summer is officially over, we wanted to know how the summers are different for remote professors? We asked Sara Thompson, the program chair of the Masters of Science in Counseling and Human Services (MSHSV) program. Thompson often teaches Family Systems Theory (HSV521) and she runs the MSHSV mentoring program. Thompson works remotely from South Carolina and has seen the program from many different angles, since she started as a student at Post and worked her way up to professor, and then eventually program chair.

What were you working on this summer?

woman in sunglasses and green skirt with water in background“Most of the work week is business as usual, teaching, our courses run every eight weeks so we still teach throughout the summer,” and, like most of the other professors and program chairs, Thompson has to revise courses during the summer to ensure that they are all up to date. The program Thompson teaches is exclusively online. She also manages the practicum and internship courses in her program, which also run during the summertime.

This doesn’t mean that she’s not working on anything special though, Thompson is involved with a few university-wide initiatives.

“One I’m working on is number 1.3, for identifying emotions that we want our associates to experience positively within the workplace. I’m also involved in another initiative that is working to bring online students, and make them feel connected to the university, versus only being an online student and not having typical face-to-face interaction.”

How is working remotely different from working on campus?

For Thompson, there isn’t a huge difference between working on campus and working remotely—since her program is exclusively online she can do everything that she would do on campus remotely.

“I have always worked remotely; I worked one semester on campus. I feel very connected to the university because of the individuals I work with directly, we know who each other are, we’ve met, and we see each other on campus. Everything that I could do on campus, I can do from my office in South Carolina, I interact with students, whether it’s a phone call, email, or a skype meeting. I’m a big user of Blackboard Collaborate. I work the same way with colleagues, it’s like I have a cubicle on campus, which I do when I come to Connecticut. When I’m on campus, I make a point to visit specific people that I work with throughout the academic year just to say hi.”

How has the program changed in your time here?

Thompson has been with Post for about nine years, and she’s really experienced her program from all different angles. She started as a student in the program. Later on became associate faculty, then was hired full time, and then became the program chair.

“We’ve had many positive changes in our program. One with the word counseling being added to our program name, we have new courses, concentrations are different, putting myself back in the perspective of a student, right now the culture of making all our students feel important and that this is their time, has definitely been a positive change for us. Our curriculum is up to date and offers students the ability if they are looking for licenser; we have all the tools for them to be able to do that.”

What’s a fun fact not many people know about you?

“I ran a seven-mile race, was pushed down by a competitor, and still placed first out of 700 runners.”

When asked about her favorite part of Post, Thompson replied “our students and the sense of pride and family.” Thompson has been at Post for about nine years.

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