Published March 15, 2017
The UB Educational Opportunity Center (UBEOC) has named Debra E.J. Thompson as its new associate executive director.
Thompson, a 20-year employee at UBEOC, assumed her new duties Feb. 27. She previously had served in a variety of roles at the center, including as adjunct professor, instructor, tenured associate professor and director of instructional services.
Julius Gregg Adams, executive director of the UBEOC, calls Thompson an exemplary director and teacher throughout her career at UB, who quickly established herself as an outstanding leader and innovator.
“Charged with ensuring that the overall student academic experience prepares them to be successful in the workforce and in post-secondary experiences,” Adams says, “Debra’s passion for the UBEOC and its students, her knowledge of nontraditional students, her ability to think outside of the box and her strong organizational skills will be greatly beneficial to our students, faculty and staff.”
Adams praises Thompson’s leadership and vision, citing her “incredible ability to work with a diverse group of people and organizations to ensure that all of our students receive experiences that will produce lifelong learners who are self-directed, empowered and committed to excellence.”
Thompson earned a bachelor’s degree in reading (K-12) from Medaille College and a master’s degree in career and technical education from Buffalo State College. She currently is working on her doctorate in educational leadership and policy at UB's Graduate School of Education.
Located at 555 Ellicott St. adjacent to the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, UB’s Educational Opportunity Center specializes in programs for students who may not have access to traditional educational resources.
Serving more than 1,900 students each year — the majority of whom are 25 or older — the UBEOC is one of four Urban Centers created in 1966 under SUNY supervision and funded by the governor and state legislature — and under the leadership of former Assembly Member Arthur O. Eve — to provide occupational training and college preparatory programs to underserved populations. There currently are 10 EOC centers and two outreach centers throughout New York State that provide academic and vocational programming for those who do not have a high school diploma or are underemployed or unemployed.
Among the UBEOC’s academic priorities is an emphasis on academic and vocational preparation for the various allied health fields expected to be in continuing demand in Western New York.
A reception to welcome Thompson and to officially open clinical space now occupying the former Bethel Head Start area will be held from 4:30-6 p.m. May 5 at the UBEOC.