Professor, Department of Administrative Leadership
Alfonzo Thurman is currently a professor in the Department of Administrative Leadership and is the Director of the Research Center for Urban Education Leadership. He was appointed Dean of the School of Education in September 2001 and ended a 10 year term June 31, 2011. Prior to his appointment as dean, Dr. Thurman spent 22 years at Northern Illinois University in various positions including Director of Special Projects, Assistant to the Provost, Associate Dean of the College of Education, Professor of Educational Administration, and Dean of the College of Education. Thurman received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Higher Education Administration and Educational Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.S. in English from the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
Dr. Thurman is a past President of the Holmes Partnership, a national network of schools, teachers’ associations and other community organizations to improve teaching and learning. He has also been a member of the board of directors for the Council of Academic Deans from Research Education Institutions (CADREI) and served on the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Board of Directors. In Milwaukee, Thurman, while dean convened the eight deans of education in the Milwaukee area known as the Metropolitan Milwaukee Area Deans of Education (MMADE), which was an outgrowth of his work with the Milwaukee Partnership Academy (MPA).
The Milwaukee Partnership Academy was formed in 1999 as a collaborative effort to improve education in the Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS). Major community organizations led by their presidents and CEOs along with about 40 other organizations to help improve teaching and learning at all levels in the City of Milwaukee.
Thurman is also a member of the Board of Trustees for the Great Milwaukee Boys & Girls Clubs and serves as a member of the Educare Governing Board. Educare is a growing national childcare development initiative now located in 13 major cities across the United States with plans for another 12-15 to open in another year or two. Dr. Thurman was a member of the five nationally selected faculty of the AACTE to train new deans, continuing deans, and department chairs through AACTE’s New Deans Institute, Veteran Deans Seminars, and the Leadership Academy for 13 years.
In the School of Education he has focused on helping it to become a premier urban school of education. He was successful in increasing the diversity of the faculty and staff, building the School’s research capacity. His recent research has focused on developing and sustaining meaningful partnership engagement between higher education institutions, community and public schools to develop highly qualified teacher and administrative leaders. In his role as professor he continues to mentor and nurture students and other professionals to become educators and educational leaders.