After 26 years of mentoring graduate students at Texas A&M University, Dr. Bruce Thompson is ready to retire.
Dr. Thompson, a distinguished professor of educational psychology, began his career in the College of Education and Human Development as a professor of education in 1990. Dr. Thompson also serves as distinguished professor of library science for TAMU Libraries.
In 2002, he received the Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching. He credits that to his beliefs about how faculty should treat students.
“Putting students first is the most important thing. Faculty have to put aside their egos and quit thinking of students as possessions or treasure and start thinking of them as the people that we are here to serve.”
One of Dr. Thompson’s former students, now a professor at Colorado State University, follows Dr. Thompson’s teaching model in her own career.
“He was a dynamic speaker with a true command and passion for his discipline. His lectures were intense but laced with humor to keep students’ attention as well as life examples demonstrating the real world use of statistics. His concrete, meaningful explanations often brought difficult statistical concepts to life and not only made learning fun, but technical and complex material much more understandable.”
Dr. Tammi Vacha-Haase began working with Dr. Thompson during her graduate education. Now, 20 years later, she continues to collaborate with him.
“Dr. Thompson was a strong influence in my pursuit of a career in academia and continues to be a great inspiration in my academic endeavors even today. I am truly in debt to Dr. Thompson and his extraordinary abilities and I will always be appreciative of his support and guidance in my professional accomplishments. He genuinely embodies the definition of an exceptional educator, mentor and motivator.”
As Dr. Thompson prepares for retirement, he hopes to make an impact on future graduate students and faculty mentors. He developed five principles for graduate instruction highlighting how faculty should interact with graduate students and how those students should be treated during their academic careers.
“I want this college to be a nationally prominent college of education and prominent in the various disciplines, such as educational psychology or health and kinesiology and so forth. I want a passion for excellence and I want us to be excellent. We get there by hard work, discipline, making hard decisions and focusing on academic values. We need to focus more on our doctoral programs and excellence in research and we need to help other people in other TAMU colleges understand that we’re more than just teacher education and that we can demonstrate some form of excellence.”