Kent State alumna becomes new dean of Trumbull campus

Erin Hopkins

June 1, Wanda Thomas will start her fifth year at Kent State. But this time, she isn’t a student — she’s an administrator.

Thomas, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree at Kent State, will return to the university to be the new dean of the Trumbull campus.

“In a sense, I’m coming home,” Thomas said. “And I’m really excited about it.”

Thomas was chosen to replace Robert Sines, who became interim dean in July 2003.

Starting last fall, a search committee consisting of Trumbull campus faculty, students and administrators began accepting applications for the dean of the Trumbull campus. The next step was to review the applicants’ resumes.

Thomas holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas.

She is currently the vice president for community and resource development for Broward Community College in Florida. She was the recipient of an Award for Excellence from the U.S. Department of Labor in 2004.

The search committee highly recommended Thomas to Provost Paul Gaston and Patricia Book, vice president for regional development.

Gaston said he went to Florida to meet with Thomas and recommended her appointment to President Carol Cartwright, who approved.

Thomas is excited to work with the Trumbull campus community.

“I intend to get to know people quickly,” Thomas said. “I want to be able to walk down the hall and say ‘hi’ to students and actually know something about each of them.”

Thomas said she was attracted to Trumbull because she feels it has a promising future.

“Trumbull is like a diamond in the rough,” Thomas said. “It has so much potential.”

She plans on working on community relations and bringing attention and funds to the campus.

She also hopes to explore options to keep students at the Trumbull campus instead of transferring to the Kent campus.

“One of the biggest student concerns I heard is having more upper division classes at Trumbull,” Thomas said. “Students want to stay where they are comfortable, and sometimes the Kent campus doesn’t fit their needs.”

As dean, Thomas will be reporting to Book and Gaston.

“I’m thrilled Kent State was able to attract someone of Dr. Thomas’ caliber,” Book said. “She brings a wealth of experience to this leadership position. We welcome her back to the Kent State community.”

Contact regional campus reporter Erin Hopkins at [email protected].