Worcester Polytechnic Institute Names Carol Simpson as Provost and Senior Vice President
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/December 20, 2004
Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5706
WORCESTER, Mass. -- December 20, 2004 -- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) President Dennis D. Berkey today announced the appointment of Carol Simpson as the university's new provost and senior vice president. For more than 20 years, Simpson has been a leading academic administrator, faculty member and researcher in the field of geology, most recently at Boston University as associate provost for research and graduate education, and professor of earth sciences. She is the first woman to hold this position at WPI, and she will join the university on January 31, 2005.
Simpson was among more than 200 prospective candidates for the WPI provost position. The provost search process began this past summer after John F. Carney III, the university's outgoing provost, announced in March that he would retire at the end of this month after eight years in the position.
"Carol Simpson emerged from a strong pool of candidates due to her broad international background, her experience in building interdisciplinary academic programs, and her deep understanding of faculty research and funding opportunities," said President Berkey. "In addition, she is a strong advocate for diversity and women's issues in K-12 and higher education. She is superbly qualified for this position."
As WPI provost, Simpson will be responsible for all of the university's academic and research programs, and serve as the senior member of the president's staff. Her primary charge will include reviewing the undergraduate curriculum to ensure excellence in general education as well as within fields; strengthening selected academic and research areas, especially in the life sciences; recruiting and retaining outstanding faculty teacher/scholars; and broadly supporting the university's continuing increases in quality and stature.
"It will be a pleasure to work with WPI's excellent faculty, staff and students to enhance the existing strong programs and create new opportunities for growth," noted Simpson. "I especially look forward to the challenge of leading WPI's already vibrant programs to the next level of excellence. I am delighted to be joining the WPI community."
As Boston University's associate provost for research since 1999, Simpson was a member of the University Council, Chair of the Graduate Council, Chair of the University Research and Libraries Committee, and a member of the Patent Policy Committee and the Charles River Campus Conflicts of Interest Committee. She was also a member of the Research Compliance Advisory Board and the Board of Directors for the Center for Subsurface Sensing and Imaging Systems; she was the BU member representative to both the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy and The Science Coalition. Simpson oversaw the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and administered the Special Program for Research Initiation Grants (SPRInG) and Provost's Innovation Fund seed money funds. She was the Clare Boothe Luce Foundation liaison, the BU campus Fulbright, DAAD and Luce scholars advisor, and the BU liaison to the Northeast Alliance for graduate students and the professoriate - a National Science Foundation-funded program to increase the diversity of science, math, and engineering doctoral degree recipients.
Simpson's research interests lie in the areas of structural geology and tectonics, especially in applying material science principles to deformation, kinematics, and vorticity analysis of rocks. She has authored more than 50 refereed publications and over 80 conference papers, and has worked in mountain ranges on four continents, most recently in central South America and in central Scandinavia.
In the classroom, Simpson has taught at Brown University, Oklahoma State University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute (where she earned tenure in 1987) and Johns Hopkins University before moving to Boston University in 1995 to chair the Department of Earth Sciences.
While at Johns Hopkins University, Simpson served as a program director at the National Science Foundation from 1990 to 1992, and again from 1993 to 1995. She is a member of the oversight committee for the National Solar Observatory and an elected fellow of the Geological Society of America, and has served on numerous federal and academic review panels and editorial boards.
A native of England, Simpson earned a B.Sc., First Class Honors, in geology from the University of Wales, an M.Sc. in geology from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, and a Ph.D. in structural geology from ETH Zurich in Switzerland.