Director of the Center for Science, Mathematics & Technology Education at Colorado State University, 2005 – 2010.
Dr. Thompson received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry at the University of Birmingham, England in 1961 and studied at the Rotherham College of Advanced Technology in Chemistry, ARICC in 1959. He received his PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Birmingham, England in 1964 and was an Analytical Chemistry Post Doc at the University of Arizona in Tempe in 1966. To finance his schooling, Dr. Thompson worked as a professional fire-eater and sword-swallower in European circuses.
Dr. Thompson began his career at Colorado State University in 1969 and has since be honored with numerous awards in recognition of his outstanding teaching, including being one of the first four CSU Distinguished Teaching Scholars (2000), recipient of the Colorado State Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching (2005), the CSU Alumni Association Teacher of the Year Award (2003), the Preston Davis Award for Instructional Innovation (1993), the US Department of Education Mina Shaugnessy Scholar Award (1984), and the LW Durrell Distinguished Award for Innovative Teaching Methods (1977).
In total, Dr. Thompson has taught over 55,000 undergraduate students in 2,500 courses and laboratories over the past 40 years at CSU. He exemplifies excellence in teaching as described by the CSU Board of Governors: “Excellence in teaching involves creating a process of inquiry that stimulates the curiosity of students and that helps them to develop and probe ideas.” Dr. Thompson personifies teaching that increases motivation, challenges students and channels inquiry. He has directed the undergraduate chemistry laboratory program at CSU for many years and is a pioneer in the development and application of Small-Scale Science methods in chemistry instruction at the secondary and post-secondary school levels.
Dr. Thompson continuously worked to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups in science, mathematics and technology including working with the Key Academic Community of underrepresented and first generation undergraduates (1999 – present); American Indians Bridging Culture with Small-Scale Science funded by the EPA and Packard Foundation (1998); Triunfo/Triumph Tutoring Program (2005 – 2010); and El Centro Math-Science-Technology Day (1994 – 2009).
Dr. Thompson is the developer of numerous innovations in teaching, learning curricula and research tools in Small-Scale Chemistry and Small-Scale Science including Labtop: An Integration of Theory & Practice (FIPSE, 2006 – 2010); Powerful Pictures: A Conceptually-based Curriculum for First-Year Chemistry (FIPSE, 2001 – 2004); The Solutions Project: Reducing the Cost of Laboratory Education (EPA, 1998 – 2001); Pollution Prevention in Community College Instructional Laboratories (EPA, 1997 – 19999); S3TAR: Small-Scale Science: Teachers As Researchers (NSF & CCHE, 1992 – 1995); and Rocky Mountain Teacher Education Collaborative (NSF, 1995 – 1999).
Dr. Thompson’s current research interests include the anthocyanin pigments of plants and the chemistry of atmospheric aerosols. After retiring in 2010, he was named an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Chemistry.