My Interest in ASCN: Elizabeth Simmons

Michigan State University
Lyman Briggs College & Department of Physics and Astronomy
Dean and University Distinguished Professor

Prior Organizational Change Work

As Dean of Lyman Briggs College, I have facilitated discussions and acquired resources to help the faculty realize their dreams of making the separate elements of our undergraduate STEM curriculum more inquiry-based and student-centered. This involved creating a summer bridge program (ESSA) and a new curriculum (INQUIRE) to support STEM students who enter college with very low math placements. I have also collaborated with college governance on aligning our student assessment and faculty evaluation processes to support this work.

How ASCN Can Contribute to my Work

Participating in the Accelerating Systemic Change Network would link me with a much broader network of peers from whom I could learn and with whom I could collaborate. In recent years, I've gone from promoting change primarily within my own college to partnering with other colleges to promote change across my institution and to being part of national alliances working to improve undergraduate STEM education. Some of that work has been done as opportunity arises; the ASCN would make it easier to do the work in a more coordinated way.

How I Can Contribute to ASCN

I would contribute my experience in leading change within a college, promoting cross-campus collaboration among faculty, advisors, and administrators, and building sustainable programs with measurable impact. I have co-founded MSU's Undergraduate STEM Education Alliance that unites the four STEM colleges in promoting dialog, collaboration, and sustainable reform of gateway STEM education on campus. I am co-PI of our Dow STEM Scholars program that is striving to prepare students with the lowest math placements to become successful STEM majors via a combination of summer bridge programs, academic-year support, and research opportunities. As noted above, I have also led change in my role as a dean.