Elizabeth Simmons, dean of Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University (MSU) and professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been named an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow for the 2013-14 academic year.
The ACE Fellows Program is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration. Each ACE Fellow will focus on an issue of concern to his or her nominating institution while spending the next academic year working with a college or university president and other senior officers at a host institution.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to spend a year learning more about how university presidents approach important issues at the institutional level,” Simmons said. “In particular, I’m interested to find out how other universities address the challenges of helping more students from diverse backgrounds persist through to graduation and enter graduate programs.”
Simmons joins a list of 19 other MSU faculty members who have been named ACE fellows since the program was established in 1965. Additionally, MSU has been the host institution for six recipients throughout the years.
“One of the best parts of the program is that I’ll be mentored by two university presidents: MSU’s Lou Anna K. Simon and also the president of the institution that serves as my host for the year,” Simmons said. “I will get to see how two leaders address similar issues within the contexts of their own institutions.”
Simmons will find out her host institution this summer.
In addition to her role as dean of Lyman Briggs College, Simmons is a professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. During her time at MSU, Simmons won the ACE Michigan Network’s Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award in 2005; was named a 2012 AAAS Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and was awarded the 2013 Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership. She also is a fellow of the American Physical Society and a general member and officer of the Aspen Center for Physics.
Prior to joining the MSU faculty in 2003, Simmons spent 10 years as a professor at Boston University. Simmons has a bachelor’s in physics from Harvard University, a master’s in physics from the University of Cambridge and a doctorate in theoretical particle physics from Harvard University.
A total of 50 ACE Fellows were selected this year.