I am pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Perry-Thompson, program coordinator for the master of social work program, as Senior Officer for Equity and Inclusion.
Ms. Perry-Thompson has a long record of active involvement in community groups that promote the equality of all persons, and is a resourceful and caring professional who serves as a very positive role model for our students. She possesses the skills, experience and passion needed to enable us to realize our vision of a campus environment marked by respect, safety, well being, and dignity of all persons. Through her extensive career as a social worker, educator, and active member of civic organizations, Ms. Perry-Thompson has developed a keen understanding of the issues and needs of persons who suffer from harassment and discrimination. She is a skilled listener and strong advocate who will help implement the recommendations of the Inclusive Community Task Force as outlined in our New Dimension of Excellence Strategic Plan.
In her expanded role at Pitt-Johnstown, Ms. Perry Thompson will lead initiatives that foster equity and inclusive excellence in the campus community. She will perform the role of ombudsperson to receive and respond to allegations of discrimination and discriminatory harassment, and will serve as liaison to the University of Pittsburgh Office of Affirmative Action. She will be responsible for monitoring compliance with pertinent federal and state regulations to promote equal opportunity in recruitment and employment, and will serve as the President’s liaison to intercultural campus groups including the Black Action Society and the UPJ Alliance. Additionally, she will lead the efforts to assess progress relative to the accomplishment of strategic plan goals in the area of promoting equal opportunity, inclusivity and access. This positions results from a reorganization of the existing Affirmative Action office and reports directly to the President’s office.
A member of the Women’s Help Center board of directors for more than 25 years, Ms. Perry-Thompson is an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the Cambria County Health and Welfare Council. In addition to being a licensed social worker, she is certified by the American Red Cross as a critical incident/disaster/mental health specialist.
Ms. Perry-Thompson joined the Pitt-Johnstown staff in 2003 in a dual appointment with the Personal Counseling Center and Academic Success Center. In January 2007, she was named program director of the Master of Social Work Program where her responsibilities include teaching courses on cognitive behavior theory and social work with diverse populations. Prior to coming to Pitt-Johnstown, she worked for more than 20 years as a psychiatric social worker and Employee Assistance Program coordinator. Ms. Perry-Thompson earned her MEd in rehabilitation counseling, and BS in psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, and is a graduate of the inaugural MSW program cohort at Pitt-Johnstown.
Please join me in congratulating Ms. Perry-Thompson.