As we begin our first semester together on the campus of Our Lady the Lake College, I hope you are as excited as I am about where we are. Since joining the College as President in April, I have been completely wowed by the energy of the College family!
Our college is more than a place to take courses and earn credits. It is a vibrant faith-based learning community where highly engaged students learn from and work with exceptional faculty, seasoned professionals, and leaders throughout our community. Through the interaction with your peers, the incredible service-learning activities, and the foundations of the Franciscan Values, your experiences here will truly be life changing.
Our faculty are much more than lecturers. I have observed how the small class sizes lead to the formation of lasting relationships between and among faculty and students. Faculty invest in their students’ academic and professional success. They challenge their students to succeed while supporting students’ efforts to do so. They understand the enduring value of professional preparation when it is experienced in the context of a broad liberal arts education. No matter which program area is your concentration, you will be immersed in a rich and relevant combination of rigorous coursework, real-life multidisciplinary simulations, and meaningful case studies, acquiring the competence and confidence to succeed in your chosen vocation.
Our goals for you are a reflection of the mission of Our Lady of the Lake College. Your time with us will change your understanding of what it means to serve. Our holistic approach to learning fosters a sense of individual purpose as you encounter increasingly complex moral and ethical questions. Whether you are called to work within the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System or well beyond the borders of Louisiana, whether you choose a career that you always expected or choose to work in an area very different than what you imagined, you will have established a firm foundation upon which to build a successful, purposeful, and faith-filled future.
I am glad that you and I have come to Our Lady of the Lake College. I look forward to meeting you all! Have a wonderful first week, and a fantastic semester!
Tina S. Holland, Ph.D.
President, Our Lady of the Lake College
Phyllis L. Simpson, Ph.D., Dean of Student Services and Director of Counseling for Our Lady of the Lake College was recognized as one of the nation’s “Outstanding First Year Educators” by the Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transitions. Attendees of this group’s national conference honored Dr. Simpson at its annual meeting held in San Diego, California, February 15-18, 2014.
Each year a national panel of distinguished educators review the top 100 applications, selecting ten for recognition. All of these top educators demonstrate the common goal of improving the educational experience of first-year students in colleges and university throughout the United States.
David England, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs stated unequivocally, “It is hard to imagine there being a more worthy recipient! Phyllis Simpson has long served as one of our College’s richest resources as the scores of students she helps each year will readily attest.”
As the nomination stated, “Phyllis Simpson is an educator who believes that true collegiate learning must happen both inside and outside of the classroom walls.” With her strong teaching background and her proficiency as a reading specialist, she helped to re-vamp the academic seminar to adapt program-specific reading strategies and incorporate learning style inventories to improve testing/study strategies. She created a tutor lab and established a First Year Student Experience program which had students meeting with her one-on-one several times during their initial year at OLOL College. Recognizing that first year students at a commuter college would benefit from more connections to the campus, Dr. Simpson began working energetically to make student organizations more active. Additionally, she has led civic engagement efforts on campus and works as Co-Chair for the College’s acclaimed Service-Learning programs. As a result, retention efforts for incoming freshmen are improving steadily.
Students sincerely appreciate her contribution to their education. Biology major Derek Wiltz said "Dr. Simpson has helped me grow in so many ways . . . She is an exceptional leader and teacher, always giving us great support that not only helps academically but encourages us with our career goals." Non-traditional student Melanie Koscick who returned to school at the age of 45 added, "As someone who has been out of school for over twenty years, Dr. Simpson has been my guiding light and my anchor. She has not only assisted me with how to handle college in this day and age, but has helped me to believe that I can accomplish great things."
Dr. Simpson has been involved with various areas of education since 1970, and has taught at every grade level except for kindergarten and first grade. Among her many accomplishments, she has authored teaching manuals for postsecondary reading textbooks as well as a strategy textbook for elementary/junior high teachers. Receiving her B.S. degree from Louisiana State University (LSU), her Masters of Education from Southeastern Louisiana University, and her Ph.D. from LSU in 1998, Dr. Simpson began her teaching career in Washington Parish in the early 70s, taught at Southeastern Louisiana University in the 90s, and then became a member of the staff at OLOL College in 1997.
Baton Rouge, LA – Campus Compact has honored 181 student leaders from 36 states as 2013 Newman Civic Fellows. Among the honorees is Lisa McDivitt of Our Lady of the Lake College. The Newman Civic Fellows Awards recognize inspiring college student leaders who have worked to find solutions for challenges facing their communities.