Elizabeth H. Simmons

Elizabeth H. Simmons, author of the Mend the Gap column, is dean of Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University and University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Lyman Briggs is a residential undergraduate college focused on the study of science in its historical, philosophical, and sociological context. 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

March 15, 2013
Early career faculty should demonstrate leadership through projects that also advance their teaching and research programs, Elizabeth Simmons writes.
February 15, 2013
Why become an academic leader? Elizabeth Simmons contends that it enables you to extend your love of learning into a new arena.
November 30, 2012
Why become an academic leader? Elizabeth Simmons argues that it offers a unique opportunity to extend a love of teaching into novel realms.
September 21, 2012
Considering whether to seek an external offer? Elizabeth Simmons discusses how your home institution is likely to respond.
July 27, 2012
Elizabeth Simmons offers advice for faculty members and administrators on successfully launching a dual-career academic’s new tenure-stream position.
June 6, 2012
Elizabeth Simmons offers tips on finding the resources you need to get your great idea off the ground.
April 18, 2012
Elizabeth H. Simmons shares a set of inexpensive, reinforcing strategies that have worked to inspire faculty members at her institution -- and might apply to yours, too.
February 10, 2012
In the second essay in a two-part series, Elizabeth Simmons advises instructors on how they can best evaluate their faculty peers.
February 3, 2012
In the first of a two-part series on yearly reviews, Elizabeth Simmons suggests how faculty members can frame their self-evaluative essays in ways that help them and their institutions.
January 6, 2012
Elizabeth Simmons offers a dean's perspective on how faculty members up for tenure should approach deal with the process of identifying external evaluators.


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