Published: Sept. 1, 2021

University of Colorado Boulder Provost Russell Moore today announced that Sara Thompson, dean of Continuing Education and vice provost for Summer Session and Outreach and Engagement, will retire effective Jan. 10, 2022, after serving in this role since 2015. Scott Battle, current assistant dean for online academic programs, will serve as acting dean. 

“Under Sara’s leadership, Continuing Education expanded its collaboration with main campus schools and colleges to bring several new online programs to fruition,” Moore said. “Her work not only supported the university’s longterm strategy of building a robust and diverse portfolio of online programs for diverse audiences, but immediately helped current students looking for flexible options to continue their education or pursue professional development during the pandemic. We will miss her contributions when she retires in January.”

Sara Thompson

Thompson joined CU Boulder in 2015 with a specific focus on developing and launching new and entrepreneurial initiatives. During her tenure, she oversaw the successful launches of the fully online Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program, which has served as a model online program for CU Boulder, and Winter Session, which served approximately 500 students in 2021. She also expanded Continuing Education’s role in executive education enterprises at CU Boulder, involving both internal campus partners— including the College of Engineering & Applied Science, the Leeds School of Business and Colorado Law—and government and industry partners like NIST Boulder Laboratories, Hacker U and the Mexican military. She also supported an increase in the number of student scholarships and faculty outreach awards given each year and served on the CU Boulder Online Executive Committee.

“Since its founding more than 100 years ago, Continuing Education’s role has been to bridge the university’s resources to the larger community and world,” Thompson said. “I feel very fortunate to have contributed to that legacy by supporting new online initiatives and partnerships and by setting the division on a new course for the future.”

Thompson will continue at CU Boulder and teach in the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program. 

Thompson holds an MBA from CU Boulder and a PhD in educational and industrial psychology from Marquette University.

Working in collaboration with CU Boulder schools and colleges, the dean of Continuing Education and vice provost for Summer Session and Outreach and Engagement serves degree and nondegree students and community members through a variety of credit and noncredit programs that are offered in in-person, online or remote formats. The division generates more than 23,000 enrollments annually and Summer Session serves approximately 8,000 degree students. This past year, CU Boulder Outreach and Engagement awarded more than $460,000 in faculty awards and outreach grants that engaged 369 faculty and staff members, 1,487 CU Boulder students and more than 26,500 Coloradans.