Ann Dunkle Thompson

Honored by:R. Bruce Thompson
Brick location:E:16  map

Ann Dunkle Thompson, 1943-

Elizabeth Ann Dunkle was born in 1943 in Altadena, California. Even at that time, however, she had roots in Iowa as her mother, Virginia Schaaf Dunkle, (another heroine) was from Sioux City. Other ancestors had been influential in the development of the state, including playing an important role in the founding of Adair County. Ann's youth was spent in Southern California, a time in which she was active in a number of activities, including interscholastic speech competition. In 1965, she graduated from Pomona College with a degree in mathematics, a major not commonly pursued by women at that time.

However, Ann's real love was working with people, for which she prepared herself by earning a Masters degree in education from Stanford University in 1966. In the next three years, she started her professional career teaching mathematics and English at Burlingame High School, and uniting with a spouse, marrying Bruce Thompson in 1967.

In 1970, Ann moved to Thousand Oaks, California and embarked on an exciting decade of her life. Her family grew with the addition of two children, Amy in 1970 and Kirk in 1972, and her career blossomed through successive positions in the night school program of Thousand Oaks High School and at California Lutheran College, where she served as the head of the teacher education program. Her formal training was completed with the receipt of a Ph.D. degree in educational psychology from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and she found time to be involved in local community affairs, being named the Conejo Valley Young Woman of the Year in 1975.

In 1970 her family undertook a major transition moving to Ames, Iowa where she and her husband assumed positions at Iowa State University. In the succeeding years, Ann played a leading role in the introduction of computers as an important component of the instructional technology program of the College of Education. As a part of those activities she developed and taught several courses and co-authored two books, Foundations of Computer Education (1990; 1994; 1996) and Educational Technology (1992). The former has been widely adopted nationally as a textbook for teachers learning to use computer-related technology in classrooms.

In 1990, she assumed the position of Chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, which provides services to 1000 undergraduate majors, 500 secondary education students, and 200 graduate students. The Department has since flourished under her leadership. Included among the advances made during this period were a significant increase in the research and scholarship activities within the department as well as a substantial diversification of its faculty and staff. Also during this period, Ann contributed to various University activities, including service on the Faculty Senate in 1984-1988, the University Grievance Committee for several years, and the University Strategic Planning Committee in 1994.

With so many professional accomplishments, it might well be assumed that Ann has little time for the personal side of life, but quite the contrary is the case. Her family is always her first priority, ranging from nurturing her children and husband to helping her parents through the joys and difficulties of their declining years. Not far behind in importance are her relationships with her close friends, with whom she shares much, and her beloved dogs and cats, whose seemingly endless lives speak well of the positive environment in which they live. If only one single statement could be made about Ann, it would be that she makes things a little better for all with whom she comes in contact. This is truly the stuff of which heroines are made.

Submitted on 7/1/96