Abbey K. Thompson has been appointed Assistant Dean for Diversity, Inclusion and Funding in the Graduate School beginning December 15. She has been serving as assistant dean in an interim capacity since May 2022.
In this position, Thompson will play a central role in creating an inclusive and multicultural educational landscape in graduate education at UW–Madison. This includes oversight of the Summer Research Opportunities Program and programming in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Funding. The Assistant Dean role advances diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging across the university through participation in the Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement’s network of school/college Campus Diversity Representatives. Additionally, Thompson will oversee the Graduate School’s fellowship and funding competitions, serve as the coordinating unit for external fellowships, and provide assistance on campus-wide funding issues.
Thompson’s proven success includes 15 years of leading, developing, and implementing programs for recruitment and retention of underrepresented students and 14 years of administering graduate fellowship award processes and managing program budgets. She was most recently Associate Director (and then Multicultural Initiatives Director) of the Science and Medicine Graduate Research Scholars (SciMed GRS) program on UW–Madison’s campus, which she helped establish in 2008 and where she served as Program Coordinator until 2018. This unique, high-impact program offers professional development, community resources, mentoring, funding opportunities, and peer/alumni networks for underrepresented minority students; the program supports over 140 students yearly in 38 graduate programs spanning four schools and colleges on campus. Thompson received a bachelor of science in Zoology and Biological Aspects of Conservation, and a master’s in Wildlife Ecology, from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.