Black History Month faculty profile: Valerie Thompson

Black History Month provides an opportunity for contemplation, learning and raising awareness about the extensive and varied history of the Black community. Wichita State is embracing the rich tapestry of history and heritage by highlighting some of the amazing Black educators who make a difference in students' lives every day.

Dr. Valerie J. Thompson is an assistant professor Wichita State's College of Applied Studies. Her experiences as a practitioner in higher education — and her lens as a Black woman scholar — help inform how she sees the world.

Name, department and courses you teach: Dr. Valerie J. Thompson. I am an assistant professor in Educational Leadership/Educational Psychology within the Intervention Services and Leadership Programs (ISLE) department in the College of Applied Studies. 
Explain your background and journey to becoming a faculty member at Wichita State? I am originally from Wichita and I am a graduate of Friends University, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish. Then, I received my Master of Science Degree in College Student Personnel and Administration at Illinois State University. Lastly, I received my Ph.D. in Adult and Higher Education, with emphases in student affairs and women's studies. I have 16 years of student affairs experience and am one of the co-creators/co-hosts of BLK Womyn Podcast (Higher Education-Student Affairs Podcast), which centers on the lived experiences of Black Womyn within Higher Education.

My research interests center on Black women student affairs professionals and burnout, compassion fatigue, intersectionality, (race and gendered) stress and (race and gendered) fatigue. I serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Trauma Studies in Education and the NASPA Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education. 

How do you think your identity as a Black individual has influenced your teaching or research approach? I identify as a Black womanist scholar/practitioner, and my pedagogy is rooted in liberation and transformative practice in education. My experiences as a practitioner in higher education, and my lens as a Black woman scholar, help to inform how I see the world and also how I aim to encourage students toward liberatory practices of truly and authentically supporting students.

About Wichita State University

Wichita State University is Kansas' only urban public research university, enrolling more than 23,000 students between its main campus and WSU Tech, including students from every state in the U.S. and more than 100 countries. Wichita State and WSU Tech are recognized for being student centered and innovation driven.

Located in the largest city in the state with one of the highest concentrations in the United States of jobs involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), Wichita State University provides uniquely distinctive and innovative pathways of applied learning, applied research and career opportunities for all of our students.

The Innovation Campus, which is a physical extension of the Wichita State University main campus, is one of the nation’s largest and fastest-growing research/innovation parks, encompassing over 120 acres and is home to a number of global companies and organizations.

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