Waggoner appointed Director of Academic Assessment


Simpson College has appointed Murphy Waggoner, mathematics department chair, as the new Director of Academic Assessment for the upcoming year.

In this position, Waggoner will help evaluate if Simpson’s academic assessment procedures are effective.

“She will help pull all of our academic assessment efforts together so the assessment of general education, she’ll help departments develop assessment plans for the academic program – those are the two big areas that we will have her working in,” said Steve Griffith, vice president and dean for academic affairs.

Waggoner will also be beneficial in faculty meetings so she can keep them on track, Griffith said.

“We feel that we need a faculty spokesperson for academic assessment so someone who can stand up in faculty meetings and keep us on track and on target with the academic assessment program,” Griffith said.

Griffith said Waggoner’s position is important to Simpson for two reasons.

“So first, because we care about student learning,” Griffith said. “Second, so we can report our effectiveness out to agencies, federal agencies, crediting agencies, parents, you know, those kinds of things.”

During the selection process, Griffith sent out a job description and asked faculty members to volunteer for the position.

“I selected Murphy Waggoner because she has done a great job as chair of the curriculum committee and she has been really key in terms of the whole process of getting courses approved, getting things through the committee and faculty,” Griffith said.

Waggoner has proven her qualifications for the job through her work in previous roles at Simpson.

“She has demonstrated her ability to work with faculty on these kinds of curricular projects,” Griffith said. “She is also a good analytical thinker and I think she understands kind of the complexities of assessment.”

Having the Director of Academic Assessment position filled will benefit Simpson as a whole.

“Well it will benefit all of us,” Griffith said. “It will benefit students because we will be able to really put into place a complete academic assessment program so we will know how we are doing, how to improve or where to improve.”

The new position will also affect faculty, Griffith said.

“It will benefit faculty because they will have a go-to person who understands assessment who can work with them and help them as they create assessment within their own class, in the department and on a college wide level,” Griffith said.

The information obtained from the assessments will demonstrate Simpson’s strengths and weaknesses.

“As [we] start to put into place our assessment program and start getting information back, we will be able to use that information to tell people how successful we are,” Griffith said. “Which is important to perspective students, parents, you all, alums. They want know how well we are doing and have us provide evidence that we’re doing well.”

Waggoner says she appreciates the opportunity that she’s been given.

“I’m excited to work with the department chairs and Assessment and Program Review Committee,” Waggoner said. “In some ways it is a continuation of my work with the curriculum for the past few years, and it is satisfying to be able to work in another way with the curriculum.”

After accepting the position, Waggoner said she will continue to teach.

“I will continue teaching courses, advising students, but now part of my time will be spent serving as the director of academic assessment,” Waggoner said.