Elizabeth H. Simmons

Elizabeth H. Simmons

Elizabeth H. Simmons, author of the Mend the Gap column, is executive vice chancellor and distinguished professor of physics at the University of California, San Diego. Previously she was Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development at Michigan State University, where she led the Academic Advancement Network and was dean of Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Simmons’ physics research focuses on the origins of the masses of the elementary subatomic particles -- particularly the W and Z bosons that transmit the weak nuclear force and the heaviest known particle, the top quark. She earned her Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics from Harvard University, her M.Phil. as a Churchill Scholar at Cambridge University, and her undergraduate physics degree at Harvard. As an academic leader, her interests include evidence-based and interdisciplinary STEM education, faculty professional development, and creating inclusive academic communities. She leads workshops and offers consulting on diversity, faculty development, and academic finance. Her professional website is here. Mend the Gap addresses topics bridging the divide between faculty and administrators, in order to foster better communication and collaboration. Readers are welcome to suggest topics for future columns.

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Most Recent Articles

November 29, 2022
Elizabeth H. Simmons answers colleagues’ questions about smoothing the pathway toward a fulfilling retirement.
January 13, 2022
Elizabeth H. Simmons reflects on some unexpected lessons she’s learned while serving as a chief academic officer during the COVID-19 pandemic.
November 15, 2018
Based on her recent experience at a major public university, Elizabeth H. Simmons reflects on the surprises new chief academic officers may encounter in their first year.
March 8, 2018
Our own experiences in unfamiliar environments can help us appreciate the kinds of sustained support our students need, writes Elizabeth H. Simmons.
September 7, 2017
Serving as an acting director, chair or dean? Elizabeth H. Simmons suggests how to approach issues of symbolism and presentation as you go about your work.


Co Authored Articles

October 27, 2022
Elizabeth H. Simmons and Becky R. Petitt share lessons learned in the process of implementing a new program of cluster hiring focused on the experiences of minoritized populations.
October 20, 2022
Elizabeth H. Simmons and Becky R. Petitt introduce an innovative approach to faculty cluster hiring with transformative potential.
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