Waugh rises to new positions


Kyle Werner

Spencer Waugh, Director of Exploratory Studies and Academic Recruitment, began his new exploratory course this fall.

by Kyle Werner, Feature Editor

After 12 years at Simpson, Spencer Waugh will be stepping down as the director of Speech, Debate and Mock Trial to rise to be both the director of academic recruitment and the director of exploratory studies.

As the director of exploratory studies, Waugh will assist faculty and activity directors and mentors, helping them to utilize existing resources to become recruiters.

As the director of exploratory studies, he will begin a formal program to help new students, along with students that have yet to declare a major, to figure out what area of study would be the best fit for them. He will also start teaching a class for sophomores who have yet to declare a major, acting as a point of contact to get them started. 

Waugh started his Simpson career in 2011, starting the debate team, adding the speech portion in 2012 and mock trial in 2014. He has led the Speech and Debate team to five national titles in 2016, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022. 

“I’ve been a speech debate coach pretty much all of my professional life, so 25 years of coaching,” Waugh said. “But I’m excited to work currently in the throes of a national search for a new director.” 

The national search came to an end this past weekend, and the selected candidate will begin directing the Speech, Debate and Mock Trial teams will likely be selected in the next month, said Marisa Mayo, the assistant director of speech and debate. The new director will start in the 2023-2024 academic year this fall. 

“I just want to say how wonderful Spencer is. He is truly just a remarkable person. And, you know, a vibrant presence when you get to be around him,” Mayo said. “He’ll definitely be missed in the Speech and Debate community. But I know he will continue to be a huge ally even working in the new position.” 

Although Waugh will not be the director of speech and debate, he will still be involved in the recruitment process as the director of academic recruitment.

Changes to the team will come along with a new director. There will also be another assistant director hired. “The program is just going to be quite a bit different than it is currently,” said Mayo. “We’re just going to see different positions filled and maybe a different atmosphere.”

Second-year Abby Fry, an international relations and social justice studies major, is an active member of the speech and debate team. Waugh and the speech and debate program were key factors in her decision to come to Simpson. 

“I think there will definitely be different energy,” Fry said. “Spencer has always been such an encouraging coach who’s tried to keep us all positive even when it’s very difficult to. But I believe that we will be just as successful because Spencer has created such a hard-working work ethic in the program as well as a very stable foundation.” 

“I’m excited that the college is giving me this opportunity, and it gets in terms of the administration really forward-thinking,” Waugh said. “I’m really excited about what the next years will bring.”