Dr. Maria Thompson is a career educator with a distinguished history of leadership in higher education. She is considered a leading expert on data democratization in higher education and has made numerous presentations on the topic throughout the nation. She has demonstrated success in academic and research administration, university accreditation, organizational restructuring and resource reallocation to strengthen academic programs, and designing and implementing data analytics tools to improve student success outcomes. She served as principal investigator on numerous grants and received millions in federal funding for scientific research, facilities construction, and educational projects from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Department of Energy, and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
From 2015 to 2019 she was president and CEO of Coppin State University (CSU), one of the 12 University System of Maryland campuses. She was the first woman to be installed as president of CSU. Prior to her appointment at CSU, she was provost and vice president for academic affairs at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta from 2011 to 2015, the first African American in the role. Thirteen years of her career were spent building the research enterprise at Tennessee State University (TSU). At TSU she held various positions in research administration culminating in a promotion to vice president for research and sponsored programs. She was on the faculty at the University of Kentucky in the College of Human Environmental Sciences before moving into administrative roles.
Dr. Thompson’s work experience spans a variety of institutional categories including research universities, comprehensive universities, land-grant universities, urban located, rural located, HBCUs and PWIs. During her 30-year career she engaged in searches to find the best talent for a number of positions for each institutional type including faculty, researchers, deans, directors, vice presidents, provosts, and presidents.
She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Tennessee State University, a Master of Science degree from the Ohio State University, and a doctorate from the University of Tennessee.