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Office of Academic Advising

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Academic Advising Leadership Team

Dr. Kevin Thomas

Kevin Thomas, Ed.D.
Director of Retention and Student Success

(618) 650‑5930


Doctor of Education, Educational Leadership, Western Kentucky University

Master of Science in Human Development and Leadership, College Student Personnel, Murray State University

Bachelor of Science in Organizational Communication and Public Relations, Murray State University

Professional Background

How long have you been doing what you do?

I have been in higher education since June of 2002. During that time I have worked at Murray State University, Ball State University, Western Kentucky University, and now, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville as the Director of Retention and Student Success. 

How long have you been at SIUE?

I have been in my role as the Director of Retention and Student Success since July of 2012.

How did you get here?

The path has been an interesting journey. If you had told me that 14 years ago I would have been in my current role, I am not sure I would have believed you. I started in higher education as the Residence Director for White College on the campus of Murray State. After completing my degree I moved to Muncie, Indiana where I served as a Residence Hall Director for Brayton/Clevenger Hall at Ball State University. After a couple of years I worked in housing at Western Kentucky University as a Coordinator for Housing and Residence Life in McCormack Hall. 

At that point, I felt (and so did my wife) that it was time to move on from live-in campus housing positions and was fortunate enough to earn the position of Assistant Director of Undergraduate Advising Practices at Western Kentucky University. It was an amazing position that allowed me to work with a variety of faculty and staff throughout campus but allowed me to gain a mentor in Dr. Ellen Bonaguro. I include her in this blurb as she is a big role in how I got to SIUE. Through her mentorship I became a strong and smarter professional. In 2011, I became the Director, Academic Advising and Retention Center at WKU. Dr. Bonaguro encouraged me to pursue my doctorate and in 2012 I earned it from WKU.

I was incredibly fortunate to earn the role of Director of Retention and Student Success in 2012. Since that time it has been a pleasure to be a partner in student success with campus faculty, staff, and students. Together we have worked hard to support the SIUE student in their path toward graduation! 

What are you known for professionally? What do you have a knack for?

Within the campus I am known for being “the retention guy.” While that is a wonderful title to have, it takes a campus wide effort to successful help a student persist in their time on a campus. I am proud to be a part of the SIUE team that aims students in that pursuit. 

Hopefully I am also known for embracing fully a “culture of care” attitude toward the students at SIUE. I love the opportunity to work with students through their challenges and successes. It is my job and I am glad to be a part of it. 

What are you most passionate about professionally?

Professionally, I enjoy helping students find their path. Typically, when I am meeting with a student they are in the process of figuring out their academic and eventual professional pursuits. I enjoy working with them through the process of doing so. We all have a path we have taken in life and the continuation of that journey here at SIUE is a fun process to contemplate with a student. 

What do you love most about working at SIUE?

I love that I get to come to work each day and impact the lives of the people I work with and the students of SIUE. There are not many professions that are as rewarding as higher education and I consider myself privileged to work in this field. 

Are you involved in any professional organizations/groups?

I am involved with the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Within this organization I am currently serve on the Steering Committee for Advising Communities.  I also was the 2017 chair of the Annual NACADA Conference in St. Louis, Missouri.  That was a wonderful experience to bring the advising community throughout the globe to St. Louis for professional growth and development. 

What are your primary duties in your current position?

As the Director of Retention and Student Success, I have the opportunity to lead the Offices of Academic Advising, Learning Support Services, and Retention and Student Success. These offices work to support students through their academic career’s at SIUE. 

Personal Information

Where can we find you when you’re not working?

Usually you can find me with my family. That may be at home, a sporting event for my son, or some other opportunity of living in an area of the country that provides so much to do. If it is on my own, I try to find my way to a golf course from time to time. 

Where did you grow up?

While I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, I was raised in Sparta, IL. 

Awards & Accolades

Have you won an award-what for, when?

In the fall of 2017, I was fortunate to be presented with an award for Outstanding Service to the Commissions and Interest Group Division now Advising Community).  It was a tremendous honor to be honored for the work conducted through NACADA but to be nominated by Rebecca Cofer, who is just an insanely talented professional, made the award mean that much more. 

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