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Simpson College Names John Woell as Senior Vice President & Academic Dean

Dr. Woell To Serve as Chief Academic Officer, Responsible for Leading Simpson College’s Educational and Learning Programs


INDIANOLA, Iowa, May 27, 2020 – Simpson College (simpson.edu) today announced the appointment of John Woell as Senior Vice President & Academic Dean for the college. Previously, Woell served as Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Academic Affairs at Albion College in Albion, Michigan. Woell, a respected scholar in philosophy of religion, will join the college on July 1, 2020. Woell’s appointment was the result of a national search launched in January and involved faculty, staff, students, and the larger campus community.

“Dr. Woell is a visionary leader who has demonstrated the unique ability to collaborate and unite campus communities in new and innovative ways,” said Marsha Kelliher, Simpson College’s incoming President. “In today’s dynamic world where higher education is evolving rapidly, John is committed to the enduring value of a Simpson College education, not just for today – but for a lifetime,” said Kelliher.

In this role, Woell will be responsible for overseeing all matters pertaining to the instructional services of Simpson College, including curriculum, faculty, and the Dunn Library. Woell will ensure quality and excellence in the school’s curriculum. The Senior Vice President and Academic Dean reports directly to the President and is a member of the leadership team of the college.

Woell completed his PhD in religion from Claremont Graduate University, where he also earned a Master’s Degree in philosophy. He received his Master’s Degree in religion from Vanderbilt University and Bachelor’s Degree in humanities and theology from Valparaiso University. Woell began his academic career as a Professor of Philosophy and Religion at Greensboro College. While there he served as Director of The George Center for Honors Studies and Chair of the Department of Religion. Woell also worked as Assistant Dean of the Lloyd International Honors College at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

For the past eight years, Woell has served as Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Academic Affairs and Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Albion College. At Albion, he oversaw new faculty development, national scholarships and fellowships, and Albion’s three named institutes. Woell also led the college’s Civic Engagement Initiative and strategic planning efforts and collaborated with the Newell Center for Teaching and Learning to fund innovative teaching initiatives for faculty. He is a strong advocate for students, helping secure an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for experiential learning opportunities through the Humanities and Arts Labs.

“Simpson College is a dynamic academic institution with a strong tradition of excellence and has continued to deliver on its mission to educate and inform students for a lifetime,” said Woell. “What makes this particular position exciting are the opportunities that await Simpson College with a worldrenowned faculty delivering programs of academic rigor in an everchanging world. The future will demand educated students rooted in a strong liberal arts education founded on access and inclusiveness. These are the very attributes that make Simpson College so distinctive,” said Woell.

About Simpson College
Simpson College is located in Indianola, Iowa, near Iowa's capital city of Des Moines. Founded in 1860, Simpson College has approximately 1,300 full-time undergraduate students and approximately 400 part-time students. Simpson also has a campus in West Des Moines serving primarily adult learners. Simpson offers more than 80 majors, minors and programs is a member of the NCAA Division III American Rivers Conference, hosts eight Greek houses on campus and sponsors many extracurricular options for student involvement.