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Meet our new VPSA: Will Simpkins

Vice president of Student Affairs to start Aug. 1, will lead workforce development and equity efforts of new division.

By Cory Phare

May 17, 2018

New VPSA Will SimpkinsWill Simpkins is joining Metropolitan State University of Denver as the new vice president of Student Affairs, starting Aug. 1.  

“Will’s commitment to student success is apparent from the get-go, and his track record for building workforce partnerships speaks for itself,” said University President Janine Davidson. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to the MSU Denver family.”

Simpkins comes to the University from John Jay College of Criminal Justice (part of the City University of New York system), where he served as senior director of the Center for Career & Professional Development. He will oversee Enrollment Management, Student Engagement and Wellness and Career Pathways to ensure that every Roadrunner is set up for success at each step of their journey – echoed as MSU Denver’s commitment to holding the line on access to the American dream.

“When I met President Janine Davidson and heard her vision, it connected perfectly with my own belief in the power of public higher education,” Simpkins said. “The collegiate environment is changing fast, and I’m excited to join a team committed to equity and inclusion.”

A primary focus of Simpkins’ new role will be ensuring that economies – local and farther afield – are booming because of the talents of MSU Denver students.

“I believe firmly our primary mission is to educate communities while simultaneously speaking to the skills and competencies employers are looking for,” Simpkins said. “And it’s not just about the first job; we want our students to be successful for the next 50-plus years, across industries, creating the diverse world they envision.

“That’s where we can bloom over the next few years. It’s what our employers across Denver and Colorado are telling us – MSU Denver students are where it’s at.”

Another element in which Simpkins sees MSU Denver as a leader is cultural competency. And in an increasingly fast-paced work environment, it’s a key component to help community members thrive as they navigate complex relationships.

“In a lot of ways, industry is following higher education’s lead when it comes to constructing equity-driven inclusive environments,” he said. “In addition to creating meaningful student experiences with internships, co-ops and other applied learning, our partnerships with employers have the potential to transform communities.”

As for becoming a Roadrunner, Simpkins emphasized the sentiments that employers expect of our grads: diversity, tenacity, and being primed, purposeful and entrepreneurial – known as the Roadrunner Difference. 

“Of paramount importance to me is the service to students, staff in the new division and President Davidson – I wouldn’t have accepted if I didn’t believe wholeheartedly in her vision for MSU Denver,” Simpkins said. “I can’t wait to dive in, roll up my sleeves and get to work.” 

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