BHSU Dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences to retire from career as a teacher and leader in education

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, May 9, 2016/Categories: 2016

Dr. Pat Simpson, dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Black Hills State University, will retire in June after more than a decade of service to the University and a career dedicated to education as both a teacher and a leader.  

From her office in Jonas Hall, Dr. Pat Simpson reflects on her time at Black Hills State University and the journey that brought her to lead the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences as dean.

Simpson will retire in June, after an 11-year career with BHSU, and a lifetime of memories and inspiration during her years as an educator and leader.

"My fondest moments are with the students," Simpson said. "Hearing from former students who say, "You made a difference" or "Thank you" Those are the things that stand out most."

Simpson began her career at BHSU in 2005 as a faculty member. Throughout more than a decade of service at BHSU, Simpson, along a team of educators, were instrumental in advancing teacher preparation at the University.

When Simpson started at BHSU, she directed a grant for paraprofessionals to work towards an associate's degree in education. Many BHSU students continued their education and earned teaching certification due to the new grant Simpson directed.

In 2007, Simpson was named graduate coordinator. As graduate coordinator she was part of a group that added a master's of education in reading and a master's of science in secondary education to the academic programs at the University.

Although Simpson helped lead committees that achieved much educational success at BHSU, she said it was teamwork across the entire campus that made great things possible at BHSU.

"I've enjoyed the collaboration across the whole university in preparing teachers," she said. "The whole university prepares future teachers, not just the School of Education."

Simpson was named dean in 2011, leading the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences into a new era of collaboration between the education and behavioral science disciplines.

"It's been very rewarding to work with the students, faculty and staff in the behavioral sciences fields," she said. "I've appreciated their dedication to students and their University achievements."

Simpson's career in education began in elementary education. She taught first grade through high school in Nebraska and Texas. She then moved into administration, serving as a principal and a district curriculum coordinator in the public school system.

It was after an extensive career in p-12 education that Simpson decided she wanted to teach teacher preparation. Her first job in higher education was at York College in Nebraska. She was part of the university's first teacher preparation program. She served as dean at York College, as well as vice president for academic affairs before she and her family moved to Texas.

Simpson had a conglomerate of experience in the education field, but it wasn't until she came to BHSU that she said she was able to utilize her talents to their full extent.

"I felt B-H gave me the opportunity to use all the varied experiences I had," Simpson said.

When she retires in June, Simpson said she looks forward to spending more time with her husband of 52 years, children and grandchildren. They will continue restoration on their cabin in Spearfish Canyon.

Simpson's legacy at BHSU will be one of commitment to students and ensuring students graduate from the University with the best possible preparation to become life-long educators.

Simply and genuinely, Simpson says she loved working with the BHSU students and the faculty who were all part of the team she led as dean.

"Listen to the people around you. Be part of a team," Simpson said. "It's all about relationships. Everything that is worth accomplishing is accomplished through relationships."

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