Dr. Gillian Thorne has been a volunteer for NACEP for many years and has helped shape the organization in many ways. She was Executive Director of Early College Programs (OECP) at the University of Connecticut (UConn) and Director of UConn Early College Experience (UConn ECE) from 2004 to 2015. UConn began offering concurrent enrollment in 1955, and it is the oldest and one of the largest concurrent enrollment programs in the nation. The program became NACEP-accredited in 2007 under Jill's leadership. NACEP Executive Director Adam Lowe noted, "When Jill took over ECE, she used NACEP's standards and accreditation as leverage for working with UConn's administration and faculty leadership to revitalize its concurrent enrollment program. After 50 years, UConn could have just rested on its laurels and keep doing things the way it always had – but instead chose to invest in strengthening its program."
After earning accreditation, Jill decided to give back to NACEP – serving on NACEP’s Board of Directors from 2007 to 2012 as the Research Committee Chair, and is now a Member Emeritus.
In addition to her direct work with and support of NACEP and UConn ECE, Jill was on the exploratory committee that set up the first regional chapter of NACEP, the New England Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NEACEP).
Her commitment to collaboration was evident in creating a working group for collaboration among all the concurrent enrollment programs from among the often competitive Connecticut Community Colleges, Connecticut State Universities, independent colleges, high schools, technical centers, and UConn. This working group was responsible for putting on statewide conferences in 2010 and 2011 to expand professional development and networking for concurrent enrollment programs.
From 2013 – 2015, Jill served on Connecticut’s Board of Regents’ Task Force and Steering Committee for Early College. During this period of time, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) developed a dual enrollment policy that impacted the development and operation of all concurrent enrollment programs throughout New England. She was instrumental in interpreting the overlap of NEASC and NACEP standards for many concurrent enrollment programs seeking to fulfill both NEASC and NACEP accreditation procedures.
NACEP's Executive Director Adam Lowe commented "Jill provided vital leadership at a critical time in NACEP's history – helping envision and implement a significantly bigger and impactful role for the organization during its second decade. She committed her time, intellectual capital, and UConn's financial and organizational support to ensuring the success of NACEP and concurrent enrollment nationally."