Providing central coordination for the undergraduate advising, career services & learning support communities

Karen Thomas

Position title: Director of the Office of Online Student Success


As the Director of the Office of Online Student Success (OSS), Karen leads the OSS team in providing holistic advising and career services support to all students in the UW-Madison Online undergraduate degree program. The OSS has advisors that support each student throughout their individual and unique journey. Equity and inclusion are fundamental to our work and we strive to build an authentic relationship with each student to cultivate a sense of belonging and connection from day one. We know it can be challenging to balance all of life’s demands, and it is our goal to meet students where they are, and co-create an academic plan that makes sense for their life.

The OSS team is available to discuss items such as course planning, personal challenges that may impact student success, financial planning, career exploration and preparation, study skills, time management, and more! UW-Madison staff, faculty, and campus partners are welcome to refer students to our team to learn more about our programs and services.

Karen has had the pleasure of working in various roles at UW-Madison since 2009. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Human Resources from UW-Whitewater and her Master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education Administration from UW-La Crosse. As a first-generation college student and transfer student, Karen is passionate about assisting students navigating transitions while pursuing their education.

Outside of her campus responsibilities, Karen can be found spending time with her family, engaging in her latest DIY project, or keeping up with the latest interior design trends.