[ skip to content ]

More Information about this image

You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

ODU Provost Carol Simpson to Step Down June 30, Return to Teaching/Research

Old Dominion University announced Wednesday, March 4 that Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Carol Simpson will step down from her position, overseeing academic and budgetary affairs, to return to teaching and research.

Simpson served in her current position since January, 2008. Her move will be effective June 30.

In a letter sent to the ODU community, Simpson thanked President John R. Broderick for his "sustained support" and praised the collaborative experience she had working with members of the president's cabinet and COO David Harnage and Vice President for Student Engagement and Enrollment Services Ellen Neufeldt, in particular.

"Let me immediately add that my decision is not due to any concern or dissatisfaction," Simpson wrote. "On the contrary, as I have already told President Broderick, these past 7+ years have been the most rewarding and personally satisfying of my entire academic career."

In addition to spending more time with family, including her grandchildren, Simpson said she is looking forward to "returning to being called Professor" and plans to expand her freshman course in natural disasters and develop graduate education and research resources in geosciences - her area of specialty.

President Broderick said he regretfully accepted Simpson's resignation, and remarked that she was candid in expressing her desire to return to teaching and research, but agreed to stay withhold her announcement until the University's 2015-19 Strategic Plan was launched and the search for new Strome College of Business Dean Jeff Tanner was concluded.

Simpson's "quest" to innovate academic programming and instruction, resulted in the addition of new undergraduate and graduate programs in high-demand areas, President Broderick said.

In referencing accomplishments achieved under Simpson's leadership, President Broderick noted:

  • Creating the nation's only bachelor to doctorate degree program in modeling and simulation
  • Developing a Ph.D. concentration in bioengineering
  • Growing online degree and certificate programs
  • Embedding entrepreneurship into the fabric of academic programs across the University
  • Forging new alliances with universities overseas
  • Establishing the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development

"From the moment I chaired the committee that hired her, I have been impressed with her passion for protecting academic rigor, strengthening our reputation and expanding Old Dominion's research and innovation profile," President Broderick wrote, in a letter to faculty and staff. "She has been a leader, from day one, in our efforts to enhance student success. Carol has gained the respect and admiration of the Board of Visitors and faculty alike, for a host of success within her unit."

In addition to her on-campus work, Simpson is well-regarded across the state for her leadership roles in helping shape the academic future of higher education, including serving as a member of the Commonwealth's Instructional Programs Advisory Committee, which works directly with the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).

Before her arrival at ODU, Simpson was vice president and provost at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. Prior to that, she served as associate provost for research and graduate education at Boston University and worked as a program officer with the National Science Foundation, overseeing a $7 million budget. As a faculty member, Simpson served as professor and chair of the earth sciences department at Boston University, associate professor at both Johns Hopkins University and Virginia Tech, and visiting assistant professor at Oklahoma State University and Brown University.

Simpson is an expert in structural geology and tectonics. She received a bachelor's degree in geology from the University of Wales, a master's in geology from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, and a doctorate in structural geology from ETH Zurich, in Switzerland.

Chandra de Silva, associate provost and former dean of the College of Arts and Letters, will serve as Simpson's successor until a permanent replacement is hired. President Broderick said he will be in a better position in coming weeks to reveal an exact timetable for moving forward with the search for Simpson's replacement.

"It is my intention to hold a transparent search process in finding Carol's replacement," President Broderick said, in the letter to the Old Dominion community. "Since I want to guarantee a diverse representation on the search committee, I will ask each college's leadership and governance to submit names to be considered, so I may select at least one representative from each college. Additionally, I am requesting input from Faculty Senate Chair Paul Champagne."

Site Navigation

Experience Guaranteed

Enhance your college career by gaining relevant experience with the skills and knowledge needed for your future career. Discover our experiential learning opportunities.

Academic Days

Picture yourself in the classroom, speak with professors in your major, and meet current students.

Upcoming Events

From sports games to concerts and lectures, join the ODU community at a variety of campus events.