Dr. Kelly ThompsonWILSON, N.C. — Dr. Kelly Thompson, vice president for external relations at Barton College in Wilson, N.C., has been selected to participate in the 2014–2015 Executive Leadership Academy (ELA) cosponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI).

The purpose of this yearlong program is to prepare experienced provosts and vice presidents to become successful presidents. It includes two national seminars, readings, webinars, individualized experiential activities, and structured mentorship experiences. By completing the program, participants will have acquired considerable knowledge, skills, and experiences that are germane to the portfolio of responsibilities and activities central to the work of the president.

CIC reports that “several issues affect future leadership needs of the academy: the aging of the current generation of presidents; the reports of search consultants that candidate pools in presidential searches are becoming smaller; the increasing complexity of the president’s role; the difficulties experienced by excellent candidates who come to presidential searches with some, but not all, of the experiences of sitting presidents; and the reluctance of some boards of trustees to select candidates without substantive and demonstrated experience in the full complement of the responsibilities of the presidency—many of them external…The president’s role now requires some understanding of everything from enrollment to endowment management and from governmental to alumni relations—not to mention athletics, fundraising, marketing, student affairs, strategic planning, and financial management. The president’s necessary expertise also has expanded beyond the borders of the institution—into the broader world. Candidates with at least some knowledge of and experience in the range of responsibilities of the presidency are seen by boards of trustees and search committees as better qualified and better able to assume leadership quickly and to have a positive impact on the institution.”

“I am delighted Kelly Thompson has been invited to participate in this distinguished executive leadership academy,” said Dr. Norval C. Kneten, president of Barton College, who nominated her for one of the coveted 40 seats. “During her tenure at Barton College, she has demonstrated repeatedly a strong leadership acumen in her administrative roles on campus, and this opportunity will further hone her executive leadership expertise as she prepares for a future presidency in higher education.”

Dr. Thompson’s responsibilities at Barton include oversight of enrollment management, institutional advancement, public relations, publications, and web services. In addition to serving as a member of the President’s Senior Cabinet, Dr. Thompson also leads the College’s Marketing and Recruitment Initiatives Team as well as the Board of Trustees’ Growth and Marketing Task Force. She also served as interim provost for Barton College during a six-month search this past academic year.

A native of Chicago, Ill., Dr. Thompson completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre at the University of Illinois in Champaign, and earned a Master of Arts degree in Communications and Theatre at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She completed a C.A.S. in Educational Leadership at National-Louis University in Chicago and earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Prior to joining the Barton administration, Dr. Thompson served as group vice president for enrollment and marketing at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Mich. Other professional appointments have included vice president for enrollment management at National-Louis University in Chicago, and Executive Director-Wisconsin Campus in Milwaukee for National-Louis University.

Her professional memberships include the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Carolinas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, National Association of College Admissions Counseling, and the American Marketing Association.

Dr. Thompson and her husband, Dr. Clarke Schneider, make their home in Wilson.

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