Get to Know Bernadine Thomas

by
Bernadine Thomas

Bernadine Thomas, Adult Student Affairs Assistant Director

What is your job title and what are your primary responsibilities?

I am the Assistant Director for the Office of Adult Student Affairs. My primary responsibilities are to advocate on behalf of the adult students as well as to assist them in their transition to college and support them in achieving their educational goals. I am also responsible for creating and overseeing programming and services for adult students including community building events (we host a new adult student reception each quarter for incoming adult students as well as food and free chair massages during midterms and finals), academic support (we provide math and writing tutors), social networking (such as our annual wine and cheese celebration) and a strong network of partners for service referrals (we provide resources within DePaul as well as resources from within the community). In addition, I develop, coordinate and implement initiatives to support our population at the Loop, Lincoln Park, and suburban campuses.

What is your educational background and where did you work prior to your position in Adult Student Affairs?

I received my MA in Adult and Continuing Education from National-Louis University. I received my BA in Communications through Chicago State University. Currently I am pursuing certification as a coach. My focus will be on Life & Career Transition. In my role as coach I want to guide you to discover who you really are, what you want, and assist you in designing action steps to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be. Prior to my current position, I was the Assistant Director for the graduate programs for four years with the School for New Learning. Before that I worked 15 years for Kelly Services in various positions. My last position there being Office Manager for the Vice-President. I’ve taught adults at Chicago State University, National Latino Education Institute formerly Spanish Coalition for Jobs, and the Paul Simon Job Corp on the city’s south side. I am also a Professional Advisor and I teach a course for SNL entitled “Exploring Success Techniques for Enhancing Career Skills” at the Oak Forest campus. The purpose of the course is to provide students with the coaching tools needed to meet challenges in their job and career advancement. We cover such topics as self assessment, networking, resume and cover letter writing, interviewing techniques, effective job searches and developing a career action plan.

What do you like most about working at DePaul and in Adult Student Affairs?

What I like best about working at DePaul is the people I work with. I feel our students are at the forefront of everyone’s mind. What I like most about working in Adult Student Affairs is that I can relate to most adult students because I was also an adult student facing some of the same challenges our students now have. I am able to refer them to the wealth of resources available here at DePaul. I also like that in addition to the Adult Student Center, students can find academic support and resources with our office through workshops, resource referrals, financial assistance and other academic programs. They can also visit a math or writing tutor, learn about scholarships, participate in skill-building workshops or connect with learning resources. We also now assist veteran and commuter students. Adult Student Affairs is now the home of the Office of Veterans Affairs which is dedicated to the needs and concerns of the student veteran population. A Veterans Liaison is available on campus to provide various resources to ensure the success of our student veterans. We also
provide resources for commuter students.

What resources does the Adult Center offer for distance education students residing in the Chicago area? What about students residing outside the Chicago area?

Good question! Distant education students are important to us and we are working to come up with new ways in which to engage them and provide resources for them. Last year we piloted a few new initiatives with the distant learner in mind. One in particular was a teleseminar whose focus was on your career. It was entitled “How to Protect Yourself From Job Layoffs.” It was very successful. This is something we will continue to build on this year.

Where is the Adult Student Center located?

Adult Student Affairs is located on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center. My office is located at DPC 11015 and my Director, Haydee Nunez is located at DPC 11007. The Adult Student Center is also on the11th floor – DPC 11017. Stop in and visit us! Our hours are 8 am – 8 pm Monday through Thursday and 9 am – 5 pm Friday.

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