Jul 062004
 
Authors: Kyle Endres

Students who attended afternoon and evening classes at the

University of Utah in the 1980s partly have Rick Simpson to

thank.

Simpson, CSU’s new director of Continuing Education, worked with

the vice president for academic affairs at Utah to convert the

university from a mostly morning-class-based university to one that

had more flexibility for working and/or married students.

“We were thinking that through continuing education we might

have some great success by opening up afternoon and evening

classes,” Simpson said. “When we initially opened up the afternoon

and evening courses, the students were thrilled.”

Simpson begins his position at CSU on Aug. 1. He has been the

associate dean for academic outreach and continuing education at

Utah since 1991.

The Continuing Education director position has been open for the

past several years, and two interim directors filled the position

during that time.

“It can be a little unsettling without permanent leadership and

now we have permanent leadership with Rick Simpson, and I think

that’s a positive,” said Provost/Academic Vice President Peter

Nicholls.

Nicholls said he believed CSU wanted to establish the direction

it wanted Continuing Education to go before it hired a permanent

director.

“(Simpson) definitely has strong leadership skills and he has

the personality that you want to get behind him and do stuff for

him,” said Michael Schoenly, network administrator for Continuing

Education.

Simpson visited campus Thursday and Friday to meet with the

Continuing Education staff and CSU administration members. He said

the challenge of the position, the university’s reputation and the

fact that he is from Colorado all played into his decision to

apply.

He also said he considers continuing education to be an

essential part of people’s lives long after they receive their

degrees.

“Continuing education is a process that engages people in

lifelong learning and continuous learning primarily for the reality

of adapting to change,” he said. “You don’t just come to Colorado

State University and spend four years and then stop learning or go

to graduate school and then stop learning. You essentially will be

involved in an educational process the rest of your life.”

Some of Simpson’s plans for the division include further

embedding CSU in its surrounding community and increasing programs

at the individual, organizational and community levels. He also

wants to look at expanding CSU’s presence in Colorado, possibly by

working with CSU Cooperative Extension, which already operates in

much of the state.

Continuing Education does have a campus in Denver, but Simpson

said he believes there are other parts of the state that could

benefit from Continuing Education locations, including Colorado

Springs.

“It seems like he wants to take us in a more diverse direction

than we have in the past, so it’s exciting,” said Bonnie Grantham,

marketing manager for Continuing Education.

Nicholls said Simpson’s experience, Utah track record,

management skills and personal skills all played a part in his

being offered the position.

“I think Rick is going to be very helpful to the deans and the

faculty in enabling them to mount successful programs at a

distance,” Nicholls said. “I think he has the management skill and

the personal skills to run this unit.”

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