Proctor resigns as SC Director

by Sylvia Koss

Nick Proctor is stepping down from the Simpson Colloquium director position at the end of the year due to a sabbatical in the spring of 2013.

This fall marked the finalization of the transition from the Liberal Arts Seminar courses to Simpson Colloquium.

Proctor, Simpson colloquium director and chair of the history department, has been the key person working with other faculty members to make the switch over as smooth as possible.

The main difference between the two courses is the amount of faculty training required.

“There is a lot more training involved because the course now carries the critical thinking and written communication (endorsements),” Proctor said.

Each department is to offer at least one Simpson Colloquium course, and some may need to offer more than one in order to ensure enough space for each incoming freshman to be enrolled. Proctor also helps the Evening, Weekend and Graduate programs with their sections. As of fall 2012, the Simpson Colloquium director will need to staff the transfer sections as well.

“Once you know that everybody is going to teach it, you then help the faculty that are going to teach it develop their courses because they are usually new courses,” Proctor said. “You do that by facilitating six or seven training sessions. It’s mainly making sure that the faculty member who is teaching their Simpson (Colloquium) has really thought through and figured out how to achieve the missions of Simpson Colloq.”

The position of Simpson Colloquium director is more of an administration position than anything else.

“You’re not directly interacting with the students in the first year seminars,” Proctor said. “You’re just trying to ensure quality control for the seminar they’re going to be taking.”

Proctor finds that with this position, he gets to look at the program as campus wide rather than solely for his own advisees.

“It’s interesting to look at a program campus wide, because usually as a faculty member, you’re focused on your own classes and your own advisees,” Proctor said. “As a department chair, you’re focused on your department. A job like this is one of the few chances that you have to think about Simpson as a whole, and you get to work with faculty from all over the campus.”

As fun as this type of administrative position may sound, it can be a challenge as well as time consuming.

“During the spring, it’s definitely as much as a course,” Proctor said. “During the fall it’s about as much as half a course, and then there is some summer stuff.”

Since departments are all required to have at least one Simpson Colloquium course, Proctor must see to it that those courses are actually created and prepared for the next year’s freshman class.

“With the shift to the six course load, it’s hard to serve your majors and to serve Simpson Colloquium, and rightly I think, most departments are going to prioritize serving their majors, but I have to show up and say ‘you need to serve the whole campus too,'” Proctor said. “It’s not that departments are being irresponsible, it’s just, I have to remind them of another responsibility they have.”

Proctor plays a large part in the preparation of the Simpson Colloquium courses; however, his job plays more of an indirect role in a freshman’s experience.

Even though this is the case, his efforts do not go unnoticed. The knowledge the freshmen take from these courses can be practically applied to the real world.

“You can apply it to your life,” freshman Audrey Winterhof said. “It explains how we shouldn’t fear things all the time because then we stress ourselves out and then we are unhappy. The more you think about it, the more you can relate it to real life stuff.”

For some, this course helped introduce the campus and its services.

“We learned about other organizations on campus,” freshman Ashley Nauman said.

Others found the Simpson Colloquium to be a great transitional tool to help make the jump from high school to collegiate level work.

“It is teaching me a lot of things when it comes to writing and it actually taught me how to cite my sources which I never really learned how to do in high school,” freshman Eric McKee said.

This year will be Proctor’s last as the Simpson Colloquium director, as he will be on sabbatical for the spring of 2013. Because of his leaving the position, the college is looking for someone to build upon the program he has helped implement.

If any faculty members are interested, they may apply until Dec. 1.