Andalusia native named chair at university

Published 1:56 am Thursday, July 6, 2017

Andalusia native and Western Illinois University Professor Alphonso Simpson, Jr. has been appointed chair of the newly-formed Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences, effective July 1, according to WIU College of Arts and Sciences Dean Susan Martinelli-Fernandez.

Simpson replaces Professor Aimee Shouse, who recently was named a dean at Southwestern Minnesota State University.

“I look forward to working with Professor Simpson,” Martinelli-Fernandez said. “He brings a breadth of experience in the areas of recruitment and retention, as well as an infectious enthusiasm for inter- and multi-disciplinary studies.”

Simpson joined the Western Illinois University African American Studies faculty in August 2000.

In addition to his highly-acclaimed teaching skills, he is well known throughout the area for his gospel singing, as well as founding and directing the United Voices of Western Inspirational Singers, a group that performs at area churches, on campus and throughout the country. He brought the group to Andalusia in 2013 and again in 2014.

Simpson earned his doctorate in education/curriculum and instruction from the University of Wyoming, his Master of Education in curriculum and instruction/music education from the University of Missouri-Columbia and his Bachelor of Music Education from Alabama State University.

“I am very excited to assume the responsibilities as chair of the Department of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” Simpson said. “To know that I have the strong support of my colleagues as well as the administration and staff of the college and University at large makes this charge even more exciting. It is my goal to bring as much visibility to the newly-formed department of Liberal Arts and Sciences on both the Macomb campus and the Quad Cities campus. Academically, Liberal Arts and Sciences is a very exciting degree path; I expect to see substantial growth in the major. The LAS faculty, coming from the disciplines of African American studies, religious studies and women’s studies, are excellent teachers and they will contribute immensely to this program, along with our current colleagues on the Quad Cities Campus.”