Four candidates remain for academic dean position

by Carrie Myers

The four candidates currently being considered for the academic dean and vice president position at Simpson will visit campus between Jan. 31 and Feb. 10.

The candidates will take tours, meet with students and go through the final interview process.

According to President John Byrd, who is the chair of the search committee, narrowing the list of candidates from the original 74 applicants to these four was a challenge.

“We narrowed down the 74 candidates to 11, and then did a lot of phone calling of references and then really looked at the resumes, and that’s how we were able to narrow it down to just four,” Byrd said.

According to Byrd, experience and background were very important factors in selecting the final candidates.

“Experience is clearly important as well as their skills in higher education and their ability to fit the needs of the college,” Byrd said.

The four candidates are David Bourgaize, Kimberly Estep, Steven Griffith and James Reynolds.

James Reynolds arrived at Simpson on Tuesday and left today. He’s currently the vice president for academic affairs and dean of Midland Lutheran College in Fremont, Neb. He obtained his doctorate in biology at Illinois State University. Reynolds has worked to identify programmatic issues at Midland. He’s also reorganized that college’s academic affairs division and implemented a new division-chair structure there.

Steven Griffith will be on campus today and tomorrow. He’s currently obtaining his doctorate in higher education and administration from the University of Minnesota. He has worked as the associate dean of the College at Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, Minn. He was also the recipient of the American Council on Education and The USA Group Foundation Award 2000.

David Bourgaize will be at Simpson Tuesday and Wednesday next week. He’s currently a professor and the Fletcher Jones Chair of molecular genetics at Whittier College in Whittier, Calif. He received his doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts. He also helped write “Biotechnology: Demystifiying the Concepts” and has studied marine biology in New Zealand.

Kimberly Estep will be on campus Thursday and Friday next week. She’s the vice president of academic affairs and the dean of arts and sciences at Thomas University in Thomasville, Ga. She received her doctorate in history from Auburn University in Ala. She works as a panel reviewer for the Department of Education and is a member of the American Historical Institution.

While the candidates are on campus, they will each have the opportunity to meet with faculty and students.

Each candidate will go through a formal interview process, but students are encouraged to meet the candidates and give feedback.

“Students are candid and have particular interests and roles that they want to see the vice president play,” Byrd said. “Candidates can hear their concerns and respond.”