Hundreds of alumni return to University as faculty, staff



Campus Editor and Campus Editor

Assistant Professor Angela Thomas chose to work at the University for the same reason she chose to attend.

“I don’t think you could find a better place for teacher preparation than Bowling Green State University,” Thomas said. “That’s why I selected it for undergraduate and I don’t think that has changed at all.”

Thomas is one of 756 alumni who are employed by the University, according to an email from Montique Cotton Kelly, executive director of the University Alumni Association.

Thomas, who teaches in the education department, got her bachelor’s degree, taught between kindergarten and eighth grade for 20 years and got her master’s and doctorate degrees before she came back to the University to teach in the same classrooms where she was taught.

Rebecca Ferguson, chief human resources officer at the University, said the University hires a lot of alumni for both faculty and staff positions.

“Everyone has to apply,” Ferguson said. “Our alumni do not get special preference.”

While alumni may not get special treament, if the University looks at the candidates and “all things are equal,” it does like to “hire back our own,” Ferguson said.

“We can’t just hire back alumni, it has to be the best,” she said.

Being an alumnus may be the factor that sets an applicant apart from others, Ferguson said.

“[They’re] familiar with campus, they know how it’s changed and know the perspective of being a student here,” she said. “That might be the step up— you know us.”

It’s nice to be back at her alma mater, Thomas said.

“Some days when I walk on campus, it feels like nothing has changed and other days it feels totally different,” Thomas said.

Faculty positions like Thomas’ are hired by the individual colleges, Ferguson said.

Brad Colwell, dean of the College of Education, said alumni status is not a consideration for hiring in the College of Education.

“We go through a search process and whoever comes to the top comes to the top,” Colwell said. “If they’re alumni, all the better. It’s not a criteria we use.”

Colwell said some institutions avoid hiring their own alumni completely.

“They want to bring in divergent opinions,” he said. “At the previous institution I worked at, you had to at least be at one other position before being considered.”

While the University doesn’t use a policy like this, if alumni who received an upper level degree at the University want to come back, they need to go get experience somewhere else, Ferguson said.

“You don’t want people to only know the falcon way,” she said.

Thomas went out to “hull my craft and get really good at what I was doing in the teaching profession,” before she came back to the University to “teach those who wanted to be teachers.”

For her, being back at the University as a faculty member is “absolutely a dream come true.”

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m really here and the dream came true,” Thomas said.