Project Management Students Demonstrate Their Skills Using Lego

Students in CIS 300 Project Management spent their first day of class building Lego models. Each team had one “subject matter expert” (SME) who had the original model that was to be built. That SME described what they wanted to a Business Analyst (BA), who wasn’t allowed to see the model. The BA then took the specifications to a developer to build the model. A Quality Assurance (QA) person then went and checked to see how they did. All teams competed for the same resources, a pile of Lego parts.

The results of their project can be seen below. What the team built is on the left, what they were supposed to build was on the right.

Results of CIS 300 Lego project

Results of CIS 300 Lego project

This quick demonstration shows many of the issues that small or large company projects face. The class will soon learn all the standard parts of managing projects and put what they learn to the test. The class will run their own project. In past years students have put on meetings for girl scouts or boy scouts.

Beth Beggs: Simpson’s New Director of Writing Across the Curriculum and the Writing Center

“I am the new Director of Writing Across the Curriculum and the Writing Center. This means that I am working with the Writing Center staff to make sure that the Simpson College community has the tools to produce some great writing this year.” – Beth Beggs

The 2013-2014 academic year is a big year for writing at Simpson College. Beth Beggs joins Simpson as the Director of Writing Across the Curriculum and the Writing Center.  This fall, the Indianola campus will open the Simpson Writing Center on the first level of Dunn Library. In the Writing Center, students can discuss their writing with one of several expert writing consultants.

The Writing Center staff is also pleased to welcome Mr. Mitch Glodek, an experienced professional, who will provide writing consultations on Saturday mornings at the West Des Moines campus or through email. To set an appointment with Mr. Glodek, please send an email request to For general information about writing at Simpson, contact Beth Beggs at

We have recently launched the Simpson Writing Center’s new Facebook page, located at:!/Simpson.Writing.Center.  Please check out and LIKE our page to learn about workshops, special events, and prizes!

For more information, please go to:

Ice Cream Social

The Math Department will be hosting its annual ice cream social on Tuesday, September 3 at 6:00pm in the Carver Atrium.  The ice cream social is a great opportunity to meet other students who are interested in mathematics.  Come join us for an ice treat and to hear about all the 2013-2014 math events.

Getting to Know: Professor Bob DeGraaff

Professor DeGraaff and his wife, Lisa, moved to central Iowa just a couple of weeks ago and they are already throwing themselves into the community.  He is looking forward to working with Simpson students this fall in the classroom.

What is your field of study and Teaching?


Do you have any areas of specialization that fall into this field?

Healthcare Administration and general management

What classes do you teach?

I’ll be focusing on the Organization and Behavior management course (Mgmt 333) this fall as well as the Strategic Management Capstone course (Mgmt 385) in the Emerge@Simpson business incubator

What can you tell us about your family?

My wife and I have one son, Robert.

What else should we know about you?

After working in private industry, in hospital senior management, I moved into education teaching a variety of courses that introduce the American health care system and focus on health care management, policy, economics and finance.  For exercise and fitness, I play ice hockey and will be taking part in the 1875 rules baseball game series at Living History Farms this fall.


A Healthy Start by Student Health Services

Supporting your student to meet their own health needs while away at college is another item on a parent’s list of things to do.  Following are some ideas that you may find helpful:

  • Send you student to college with a first aid kit stocked with the over-the-counter medicines that worked best when they were at home.
  • Restock those items needed with a Care Package – students love receiving Care Packages from home.  You can even include a note about how it seems best to use the supplies and the location of the nearest Flu Shot Clinic.  It is hard to ignore a note when it comes with gifts.  Some ideas for stocking the Care Package:  pain/fever reducer, throat lozenges, cough drops, multi-symptom cold meds, antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer, kleenex, band aids…and it never hurts to throw in their favorite candy item.
  • Make sure your student has their insurance card and knows what the co-pay will be for an office visit.
  • Discuss arrangements for prescription refills if needed.
  • Encourage flu shots.  Flu shots will be offered on campus in October and are available at several local locations.
  • If your student becomes ill or has questions regarding health care, refer them to Student Health Services, located on the second floor of the Kent Campus Center.  Phone:  515-961-1604.

For more information, check out the Student Health Services web page at

Don’t hesitate to contact Student Health Services if you have any questions or concerns…

Rita Audlehelm, RN, MS                                Katie Lee, RN, BSN
Director                                                           Campus Nurse

Important Dates August – October 2013

New Students
Saturday, August 24              Move-in Day
Sunday, August 25                Adventure Day at Wesley Woods
Monday, August 26               Service Learning Day
Wednesday, August 28         Involvement Day: Interest Meetings &       
                                             President’s Ice Cream Social
Monday, September 2           New Student Talent Show

All Students
Sunday, August 25                 Returning Students Arrive
Monday, August 26                Registration Day
Tuesday, August 27               Classes Begin
Wednesday, August 28          All-College Convocation
Monday, September 2             Labor Day Holiday
Tuesday, September 3            Last day to Add/Drop
Wednesday, September 18    Study Abroad Fair
Wednesday, September 25    Majors/Minors Fair
Saturday, October 12              Family Weekend/Homecoming
Monday, October 14               Mid-Term Date
Thurs. – Fri., October 17-18    Fall Break, No Classes

We are Ready for a New Academic Year! by Jim Thorius, Vice President and Dean of Students

It’s early August and the activity level at Simpson is in high gear getting ready for students to arrive on campus to begin the fall 2013 semester. Faculty are finalizing their plans for the classes they will teach, staff meetings are taking place all across campus making sure all is in order and last minute details finishing summer facility projects are wrapping up. We are looking forward to welcoming a great new group of students in to the Simpson community and of course look forward to all of our returning students making their way back to Simpson.

The start of a new year is always a good time to take stock. A time to look back at where we have been and what we have been doing, a time to assess where we are,  and an opportunity to reaffirm or redirect where we are headed. As your daughters and sons prepare to head out to Simpson, encourage them to take stock of their life and, as the year progresses, to take stock of their level of involvement/engagement on campus. The college experience is about taking advantage of all that Simpson has to offer. This is first and foremost a place with great academic opportunities, but it is also a place with great opportunities for social involvement; civic, community and spiritual involvement; involvement with athletics and the arts; the list is long and there are always plenty of opportunities on the calendar at Simpson.

Engagement in the life of the college provides students with personal enrichment intellectually, physically and spiritually. Encourage your student to stay in touch with what  is happening on campus, to attend forum events; attend music and theatre performances and attend athletic contests;  get involved in residence life, religious life, Greek life and Campus Activity Board events; and find opportunities to connect with the community through service and internships. College is all about trying new things. Urge your student to get out there and explore in order to reap the benefits and make the most of this coming academic year.

I look forward to visiting with you when you are on campus this fall, please don’t hesitate to contact us if we can answer questions or be of assistance. Have a great fall!

Jim Thorius
Vice President/Dean of Students

Learn a “foreign” language? Study Abroad? Absolutely! by Steve Griffith, Senior Vice President and Academic Dean

It is not news that our world grows smaller every day. It takes seconds for news to travel around the globe.  We live and work in a global economy.  Many of you work for international companies. Iowa depends on selling its farm and other products all over the world. One of Simpson’s responsibilities is to make sure our graduates are prepared to live and work in this environment. We are doing this in at least two ways.

Years ago, we would require students to study a foreign language because it was believed that every college educated person needed to know a second language. Although many of us still firmly believe life is enriched by learning a non-native language and everyone should do so for its own worth, we no longer require language courses for all students. Instead, we require all students to take at least one intercultural communications course. We do this because over and over we hear from employers that they need employees who can communicate effectively in cultures other than their own. Instead of trying to “master” a language in one or two semesters, our intercultural communication courses help students feel comfortable operating in a non-native environment. Our faculty members have created an exciting way to match learning the basics of a language and learning a country’s culture. We have such courses in Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese and Arabic. By learning to communicate in one specific part of the world, students learn the skills to communicate wherever life might take them.

I have often told our Simpson College faculty that if I could require all students to do just one thing during their time at Simpson, it would be to study abroad.  I believe it is that important!  Not only do students who study abroad experience wonderful new things that enrich their lives, they learn about themselves and their own culture. Simpson College offers many opportunities to study abroad. Some 150-200 Simpson students will study abroad each year during our May Term. We typically have 8-10 courses going all over the world for 2-3 weeks. In addition, Simpson has designed and offers six Simpson Experience Abroad (SEA) semester programs. Our SEA programs are offered on a rotation in the fall and spring semesters to Thailand, Argentina, Tahiti, Germany, Australia and England. Typically, we send a Simpson faculty member with a group of students abroad for an entire semester. Group size varies from 6 to 20, depending on the year and location. In addition, Simpson has several exchange programs with several universities abroad. I know what you are thinking. What about the cost?

There is no doubt that college is expensive, but it is also an important investment! I encourage all students and parents to look more closely at the costs of study abroad, before taking it off the table. Our May Term programs typically cost between $2,500 and $5,000. Our full semester abroad programs are actually much more cost effective and don’t cost much more than the May Term programs. Also, the financial aid students receive from the college can usually be used to help fund our semester programs. In the coming years, we hope to identify specific scholarship funds to reduce the cost of study abroad, even more. Study abroad can be an experience that sets the direction for a student’s life and career. I have known hundreds of students who have studied abroad. Not one has ever told me it was not the best investment in their college experience.

I encourage you to spend some time with your son or daughter reviewing our study abroad offerings at: If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Jay Wilkinson, Director of International Education. This could be the most important conversation you have with your son or daughter while they are in college.

Letting Go…Do I Have To? by Ellie Olson, Director of Counseling Services

Sending your student off to college is a transition for the entire family.  Students are figuring out who they are, what they want and what their future will look like with less supervision and direct guidance from family.  And families are figuring out who they are as they take on a different role in the student’s life.  Ultimately this transition of roles is not one that ends the day you drop your students off at college as first-years.  Instead, the college years represent an ongoing process of separation, individuation and growth for students and families alike.

You can support your student in the process of separating from you in some important ways.  Helping students feel confident and comfortable in their independence and skills means stepping back and letting students develop a life separate from the one they have at home.  How this plays out may be different from family to family, but often includes things like encouraging students to stay at school on weekends; holding students responsible for tasks such as getting up in the morning, doing laundry, turning in assignments; talking through conflicts with students but letting them make decisions about how to handle those conflicts; encouraging exploration of majors and areas of interest; and being okay with the mistakes your students have to make along the way while being there to help them learn from those mistakes when they occur.

You can also support yourself in the process of separation in some important ways.  Expect moments of difficulty.  Just as your students may experience some homesickness, you too may be dealing with a sense of missing the old “normal.”  And just as your student is spending time figuring out who they are separate from you, this can be a time for you to learn about yourself as a person separate from your student.  Find new ways to fill the void your student’s absence may create—read that book that’s been sitting on your shelf, volunteer, spend more time with the children you may still have at home, develop new hobbies you’ve always wanted to try.  Be intentional about how you will spend your first few days and weeks after your student leaves, as this is often the most difficult period of adjustment—we keep your students very busy here in their first days on campus, and you may want to do the same for yourself.  Finally, seek support from those closest to you.   If you find yourself feeling the emptiness of your student’s absence for a prolonged period of time, talk with someone (though NOT your student) about those feelings.

Despite the times of worry, loneliness and sadness, don’t forget that this is also a time of excitement and joy.  You have put years of parenting into these students and it is now time for you to step back and watch them step out from the solid foundation that you have been instrumental in creating.  And you can find new ways to be connected: plan to attend family weekend, send care packages, learn about the new friends your student is meeting and the activities they are trying, and celebrate your student’s independent successes.

So do you actually have to let go?  Well…yes.  But that’s not the end of the story.  You also get something new and exciting to replace the void that may be created in letting go, and that relationship can be equally, if not more, fulfilling.