Welcome Robert Simpson

Jul 7, 2006

Kettering attracts noted educator Dr. Robert L. Simpson for a one-year appointment as Interim Provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Dr. Robert L. Simpson has been named Kettering University's Interim Provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. His one-year appointment began July 5.

Simpson replaces Dr. John Lorenz, who recently retired after 33 years as a distinguished teacher and administrator.

President Stan Liberty called Simpson a strong academic leader - respected, experienced and with a strong academic reputation. "Robert has a positive track record for working with diverse populations, a commitment to strong academic governance and an understanding of today's student marketplace," he said. "We have found an excellent person."

Simpson had been the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, and a Professor of Biology, at The University of Michigan-Dearborn since 1991.

Simpson said he was flattered to be asked by President Liberty to join Kettering University. "I look forward with anticipation to serving the Kettering community. Kettering University has a tradition of academic excellence. My primary goal in the coming year is to work with the faculty and staff to ensure that momentum is not lost during this period of transition in academic leadership."

Simpson is known as a strong faculty advocate. He comes to Kettering from an institution that serves more than 6,000 undergraduates and 2,000 graduate students. The campus is located on the National Historic Landmark home of Henry Ford and is known for engaging 30 percent of its undergraduates in co-op or internship programs. "U.S. News and World Report" consistently ranks UM-Dearborn among the top 10 regional public universities in the Midwest. UM-Dearborn has 350 FTE faculty and 450 FTE staff, and an operating budget of $98,000,000.

As chief academic officer at UM-Dearborn, he was responsible for the programs in four academic units: College of Engineering and Computer Science; College of Arts, Sciences and Letters; School of Education and School of Management. His major goals were to enhance learning and program quality; support the growth and diversification of graduate programming; provide universal access to campus computing resources; work to connect faculty and academic programs to the community; expand funded research; and acquire funds for instructional program facilities.

During his tenure at UM-Dearborn, the campus:

  • doubled its graduate enrollment,
  • created seven new undergraduate degrees and 19 new graduate degrees in response to student demand and community need,
  • achieved AACSB and CASB initial accreditation and re-accreditation by ABET and the Higher Learning Commission,
  • launched several distributive learning initiatives, including a bachelor of General Studies program; MEd in special education; web-MBA; and MSE in Automotive Systems Engineering and Software Engineering,
  • created Provost Roundtables to highlight faculty teaching and research,
  • created an Emerging Leaders Program to provide leadership opportunities to students enrolled in co-op and internship programs,
  • positioned UM-Dearborn as a Project Kaleidoscope Core Institution as a result of a campus focus on science and mathematics reform,
  • initiated Meeting of the Minds, an annual conference celebrating undergraduate research and bringing students together from UM-Dearborn, UM-Flint and Oakland University to present their research and creative work,
  • created a Diversity Enhancement Grant program to strengthen ethnic and cultural awareness,
  • worked with faculty to adopt a "teacher-scholar" model that emphasizes a balance between the classroom and research,
  • adopted the Boyer model for research,
  • increased full-time faculty (tenure track and lecturer) by 25 percent, focusing on enhancement of program quality and strategicprogramgrowth,
  • increased funded research and curriculum development to $5 million annually,
  • created a year-long new faculty orientation program,
  • funded a Visiting King-Chavez-Parks Scholar program,
  • worked closely with faculty to revise faculty governance and create a Faculty Senate,
  • worked closely with the staff on the creation of a Staff Senate,
  • worked closely with HR/AA to create a formal annual performance planning and appraisal for system staff, and
  • played a major role in the acquisition of funding for construction of 360,000 square feet of new academic space.

Prior to coming to Dearborn, he was the dean of the School of Science and Mathematics at William Paterson College in Wayne, N.J. He received a bachelor's degree in Zoology in 1965 and a master's degree in Biology (with honors) in 1967 from Fresno State College in Fresno, Calif., and a Ph.D. in Limnology from Cornell University in 1971.

He and his wife, Penelope, have two adult children, Robert, and Elizabeth, and live in West Bloomfield.

Simpson said he has already come to understand and value the special qualities of a Kettering University education. "I look forward to working with Kettering's many supporters, alumni, corporate partners and friends of the campus, on the common goal of ensuring that Kettering continues to provide a rigorous learning environment that blends the theory of the classroom and real world experience to talented and highly motivated students," he added.

During Simpson's one-year contract, President Liberty will re-initiate a national search for a permanent replacement in the office of the Provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

Written by Patricia Mroczek
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