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Rockbridge Seminary Calls New Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Mark Simpson joins the executive team at Rockbridge Seminary, filling the vacancy lsimpson-photo-300dpieft by the retirement of cofounder Dr. Sam Simmons.

Dr. Simpson previously served at Oakland City University, Indiana as Coordinator of Online Learning and Professor of Christian Education and Religious Studies.  He also has served as Dean of Innovative Learning at another distance learning institution, and Associate Dean of Doctoral Studies and Digital Learning at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served as a teaching professor at Rockbridge since 2010.

When asked what inspires him about the mission and students of Rockbridge, Simpson replied, “I have always been impressed with the caliber of the students attending Rockbridge. I also like being part of an educational ministry that focuses on preparing men and women for Christian service in ways that deploy practical insights into contemporary ministry trends and needs.”

Linda Graber, Alumni Director at Rockbridge, had the privilege of working with Simpson at another seminary and also had him as a professor at Rockbridge. “As a teacher, he provided many creative insights into the implementation of fellowship while I was developing a small group discipleship ministry for my church,” Linda wrote. “He always gave positive reinforcement and encouragement for my ministry.”
When asked about the favorite part of his new role, Simpson said, “I love course design, and especially the challenge of creating enriched resources that use audio and video. While that work can be time consuming and sometimes difficult to do, for me it is like a form of art. Instead of working with a brush or clay I work with software and settings to create courses that can be state of the art. For me there is something rewarding about seeing a presentation or a fully online course developed and released; much like writing a song or doing other forms of art are to other people.”

“Dr. Simpson is a person with high academic achievement, administrative skills, a deep spiritual commitment and a love for students,” wrote Dr. Dennis Williams, a board member and Simpson’s former Dean. “His experiences in ministry, teaching, academic administration, innovative learning, and directing accreditation make him a perfect fit for the position of Chief Learning Officer at Rockbridge Seminary.”

Simpson said his first priority will be to “do a facelift of the online classrooms. Then I want to dig deeper into our online pedagogy and explore ways to enhance the work that has already been done by the Rockbridge team. Along the way I want to start creating new courseware using audio and video to help us support the curriculum with additional ways of consuming learning. I plan to work in this direction while also keeping in mind it works best to design for the lowest common denominator in terms of the technology available to our students.”

“We are fortunate to have Mark Simpson join the executive team at Rockbridge,” said Daryl Eldridge, President of Rockbridge. “Mark has been in the forefront of innovation in distance education.  His skills and experience in educational technology and administration will be invaluable in developing Rockbridge 2.0.”

Dr. Simpson will serve alongside the president, members of the academic council, administrative staff, and faculty.