Simpson welcomes new faculty for next year

by Sarah LefeberStaff Writer

Students can expect to see new faces around campus next fall as Simpson welcomes eight new faculty members to campus for the 2007-2008 school year.

Adding faculty in nine departments, students will see new instructors in criminal justice, English, psychology, biology, mathematics, communications, chemistry, history and physics.

Mimi Bartley, director of human services, said the number of additional faculty is not anything new for Simpson.

“We have a couple retirements, a couple new lines, so it’s about average,” Bartley said.

The psychology department will be welcoming Stephanie Sic to the department next year. Currently finishing a degree at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Sic will hold a PhD in educational psychology, with an emphasis in cognition learning and development.

Teaching two classes at UNL as part of the completion of her degree, she is also currently an adjunct at Nebraska Wesleyan, where she completed her undergraduate degree.

“As I visited Simpson, I really saw a lot of similarities between the two,” Sic said. “I’m really excited about the liberal-arts atmosphere. I think just the atmosphere that I saw on your campus was something that was very positive for students. All the people I interacted with were concerned about the students and them succeeding, which is definitely an atmosphere I enjoy being in.”

Other departments’ additions include Rachel Bandy for Criminal Justice; Marci Carrasquillo for English; William Schellhorn for Mathematics; Julie Summers for Communication Studies; Rebecca Livingston for History and Frank Curti for Physics.

The Chemistry department will see Truc Nguyen for one semester to cover a sabbatical.

Professor of Biology Pat Singer said that while the biology department was looking for new faculty as well, the fact they only needed someone for one year made the hiring process look a little different.

According to Singer, the department brought its top three candidates to campus and then hired according to mutual selection.

“We had to prioritize and have a favorite, second and a third candidate. It worked out well because our first candidate came,” Singer said.

That candidate was Samantha Larimer, who is currently earning her PhD at Cornell University in New York in psychology and biology. Singer says she will fill a gap in the department that bridges psychology and biology.

“She filled a niche that interests us, but that we lack,” Singer said. “She’s here for us to explore a link between psychology and biology. If we get to add a (fulltime) position, that’s one area that might be particularly appealing.”

While Larimer will be teaching biology classes, she will also be designing a new class on the biology of learning and memory.

“It’s part behavior and part what’s going on in the brain while you’re earning memories and learning new things,” she said.

Mimi Bartley said she is looking forward to having the new faculty on campus.

“It’s very exciting to have them join the campus and the community,” she said. “New people bring new ideas. I look forward to them walking around the campus next year.”