Pearson says goodbye to Simpson

Pearson says goodbye to Simpson

by Peter KaspariStaff Writer

After 14 years at Simpson College, Walter Pearson, associate dean for academic affairs and director of the evening, weekend and graduate program, is leaving to join the administration at another college.

Pearson made the announcement earlier this month that he will leave Indianola in June and move to Austin, Texas where he will become a dean of New College at St. Edward’s University.

Pearson said that there are multiple reasons for his departure from Simpson.

“It’s a good opportunity for me,” Pearson said. “It’s a move to be closer to home, as I’m born and raised in Austin, Texas.”

Pearson also said that the program at New College is larger than Simpson’s. Although it is bigger, he said that most of his responsibilities will be the same.

“I’ll be responsible for recruitment and marketing and admissions for 1,000 graduate students,” Pearson said.

Prior to joining Simpson in 1995, Pearson worked as the education director for the Bakery, Confectionary and Tobacco Industry.

“[Simpson] was a good fit in terms of the commitment, the mission and the focus on the work with the adult students,” Pearson said. “It’s a good institution.”

In his position as director of the evening, weekend and graduate program, Pearson has had many responsibilities.

“I’m responsible for the recruitment and admission for all of our part-time, evening, weekend and graduate students,” Pearson said. “I’m responsible for all their course schedules, the operation of the entire summer program, the conference operation, as well as the summer conference operations and for the operation of the three campuses in which we have our courses.”

Pearson is also in charge of hiring and supervising more than 100 faculty members and 15 staff members, as well as managing a $3 million budget.

Andrea Biklen, campus director and academic adviser of the West Des Moines Campus, has worked with Pearson for eight years and said he has made important contributions to Simpson.

“He has been innovative in programming and the creative ways we are able to offer courses,” Biklen said. “He is also vigilant in preparing our coursework.”

Biklen also said that Pearson and his staff have worked very well together.

“He’s a good guy to work for,” Biklen said. “That’s partly because he has a good staff.”

Jennifer Hart, campus director and academic adviser for the Indianola campus, said Pearson has worked hard at developing the evening, weekend and graduate program.

“He works well with everyone around,” Hart said. “Our department and our area has grown so much with him.”

Hart, who has been working with the evening, weekend and graduate program for a little over two years, said Pearson’s personality will be missed.

“Being relatively new to this department, he always had that approachable factor,” Hart said.

Although he is excited about the new opportunities that await him, Pearson admits that there are parts of Simpson he will miss.

“The people are really committed to serving the students here, and I really respect and admire them,” Pearson said. “And I’m proud of our students’ achievements.”

Pearson also said he is proud of all the work that has been accomplished in the evening, weekend and graduate program since he’s been here.

“Achieving high levels of academic quality while still providing lots of support for the students, providing convenience and flexibility for the working adults [is my proudest accomplishment],” Pearson said. “I’m proud of the faculty who teach for us, and the staff that work with our students.”

Pearson also had advice for his successor.

“Pay attention to our core values, which are community, quality and respect,” Pearson said.

Hart offered her own advice to Pearson as he goes.

“Enjoy the new experience,” Hart said. “It’s going to be a good experience for him.”

As of the date of publication, a successor to Pearson had not been named.