Published: July 11, 2014

Acting dean recommended for College of Arts and Letters

Contact(s): Kristen Parker Media Communications office: (517) 353-8942 cell: (517) 980-0709

Tapped for her strong administrative experience and appreciation for interdisciplinary studies, Elizabeth Simmons, dean of Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College, is being recommended to serve as acting dean of the College of Arts and Letters, effective Aug. 1.

At that time, Karin Wurst, current dean of the college, will step into the role of special adviser to the provost on intercultural education and student engagement. A search for the next dean will begin in the fall.

The appointment of Simmons, University Distinguished Professor of physics and winner of the Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership, is pending approval by the MSU Board of Trustees.

Simmons has led Lyman Briggs College, first as director and then as dean, since 2003. The college focuses on academic programs that bridge science and humanities, and its entire tenure-system faculty have joint appointments in other MSU colleges to promote collaboration. Under Simmons’ leadership, Lyman Briggs has been recognized nationally for its superior undergraduate teaching and its research into effective teaching methods. Simmons will continue to serve as dean of Lyman Briggs College.

In 2013-14, Simmons was named an American Council on Education Fellow, for which she spent the year in the provost’s office at Yale University while continuing her role as dean.

Simmons came to MSU from Boston University, where she was associate professor and associate chair for undergraduate studies. She holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and Ph.D. in physics from Harvard University, as well as a master’s degree in physics from Cambridge University, where she was a Churchill Scholar. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Physical Society.

Elizabeth Simmons, dean of Lyman Briggs College, and recommended acting dean of the College of Arts and Letters. Photo by Derrick Turner

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