Faculty and Staff Directory » Zoe Thornton

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Zoe Thornton


Title: Clinical Assistant Professor
Department: School of Education

Office: 2662a Lagomarcino 901 Stange Rd, Ames, IA 50011
Phone number: +1 515 294 9631
Email: zmthorn@iastate.edu

View resume/vita

Research interests

  • The interrelationship of state policy and community colleges
  • Rural community colleges as a distinct sector within higher education 
  • Community college workforce development innovations and outcomes

Zoë M. Thornton joined the School of Education faculty in Fall 2018 as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Higher Education.  She facilitates graduate courses in higher education with special focus on community colleges, as well as the Leadership Institute for a New Century (LINC) - a leadership development program for new and emerging leaders within Iowa's community colleges.

Dr. Thornton's professional record within higher education encompasses 14 years of experience, including multiple roles in two very different Iowa community college districts and three years at the state level designing and implementing policy impacting community college student access, retention, and success.  Her work within the community colleges was aimed at the building of functional connections between academic and student affairs, involving efforts on institutional projects in curricular redesign, program restructuring, certification and accreditation, program evaluation and improvement, institutional research and effectiveness, as well as development and evaluation of institutional policy and procedure.  Beyond her institutional experience, Dr. Thornton had the privilege of fulfilling a public service role at the Iowa Department of Education, within the Division of Community Colleges & Workforce Preparation. Her state-level work was aimed at bridging gaps within the P-20 continuum, and ensuring high quality, accessible public education which provides outcomes aligned with the state’s workforce and economic needs.  This collaborative work involved designing and facilitating multiple statewide initiatives and policy within both secondary and postsecondary arenas, including career and technical education, career pathways, dual enrollment, developmental education, transfer majors, state and federal accountability, and state accreditation.

Dr. Thornton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Psychology) from the University of Iowa, a Master of Science degree (Adult Learning and Organizational Performance) from Drake University, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree (Education - Emphasis in Higher Education/Community College Leadership) from Iowa State University.