Elizabeth H. Simmons
Mend the Gap
Elizabeth H. Simmons is dean of Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University, where she is also a 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. Her 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. Simmons earned her Ph.D. in theoretical particle physics from Harvard University and an M.Phil. in theoretical condensed matter physics as a Churchill Scholar at Cambridge University; her undergraduate studies at Harvard included a official major in physics and an unofficial minor in medieval studies.As an academic leader, her interests include inquiry-based and interdisciplinary undergraduate STEM education, faculty professional development, creating inclusive academic communities, facilitating joint appointments, and aligning budget processes with academic values. 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 via e-mail.