Campus News Society & Culture

Thompson named new Georgia Teacher Quality Higher Ed Program director

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia faculty member Katherine F. Thompson has been named director of Georgia’s Teacher Quality Higher Education Program, effective July 1.

The program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by UGA for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia, is designated to enhance the teaching of science, mathematics, language arts, reading and social studies at the elementary, middle and high school levels in public and private schools across Georgia.

More than 600 teachers across the state participate each year in TQ professional development programs and workshops offered by faculty at University System of Georgia institutions. The timeframe for programs ranges from several days to a year, often beginning in summer, while others begin in fall and spring. Some have follow-up sessions during the school year.

Projects have included hands-on ecology activities at the State Botanical Garden, discovering environmental sciences by becoming a tourist in your own town, and understanding how to utilize traditional nursery rhymes and fairy tales to develop students’ literacy skills.

Professional learning unit credits or graduate course credits are offered for most programs. The TQ program distributes grant awards ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 for a 12-month period, with the possibility of 15-month funding available. About $1.9 million will be distributed in 2010.

Thompson is a public service associate in the college’s department of elementary and social studies education where she is a faculty member in the Middle School Education Program, teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses and leading outreach efforts in Georgia schools. She also serves as a faculty liaison between the College of Education and local school districts in the COE Office of School Engagement. She is a 2009-10 Service-Learning Senior Scholar at UGA.

Thompson has been a faculty member in the college since 2002 and served for five years as the co-director of the League of Professional Schools. In that role, she established extensive relationships with schools throughout Georgia. She has developed and implemented numerous professional development experiences for Georgia’s educators, including those provided by Teacher Quality grants.

Thompson taught middle school language arts and social studies for grades 6 and 7 at Clarke Middle School in Athens for 14 years. She received several awards for her teaching, including the Cardee Kilpatrick Chair for Middle School Teaching from Clarke County’s Foundation for Excellence in Public Education. She received her Ph.D. from UGA in Middle School Education.

Thompson will replace Thomas Koballa, a professor of science education, who is leaving to become the Dean of the College of Education at Georgia Southern University on July 1.