Dean Griffith finishes successful first year

Dean Griffith finishes successful first year

As the school year comes to a close, so does Steve Griffith’s first year as academic dean and vice-president at Simpson College.

“It has been a very exciting year getting to know people and the place–getting to know the faculty and the students,” Griffith said. “It has gone extremely fast. My respect for faculty and Simpson College and the administration has grown during the year. I have met people who are extremely dedicated to the college.”

Griffith has been very busy since he started this previous fall. He has been involved in several key projects on campus and hopes to see those projects implemented soon. He has worked hard to create a variety of programs and benefits on both faculty development and international education.

“When I was hired people identified as their priorities faculty development and international education,” Griffith said. “We developed a long range plan for faculty development that we are now implementing. We know where we are going.”

Griffith’s work has included doubling the number of sabbaticals, creating diversity and research grants and other programs to aid faculty development.

He was also been involved in hiring Jay Wilkinson, the international education director. Finding ways to make study abroad more affordable is something Griffith hopes to address in the future.

“We have created the big picture plan and are now implementing it,” Griffith said. “I am very proud of the work that the faculty has done.”

Other faculty members are pleased with Griffith’s first year as well. His priorities in faculty development and international education are a good match with Simpson’s needs.

“It is obvious he has a passion for faculty development,” said Kedron Bardwell, professor of political science. “He is a good fit for Simpson. Those are the directions we want to go.”

Hopes are that next year the same success will be seen. The projects and programs that Griffith worked on this year will continue to be worked on in the next academic year and over the summer.

“I think Dean Griffith has done a fine job,” said Jim Throius, vice president and dean for student development. “I am sure it has been a busy year. I think he has hit the ground running. He will continue to work hard and try to do his best to improve the Simpson experience.”

Outside of meetings with individual students and committees, Griffith is not able to have a lot of time spent with students.

“If there was a disappointment it would be not having more contact with students,” Griffith said. “I have been surprised at how little I have been involved with students. Next year I hope to teach a course in May Term. I want to get to know students more in a greater depth than I have.”