The Simmons Chivukula Award for Academic Leadership is generously sponsored by a gift from Dr. Elizabeth H. Simmons (Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UC San Diego; former MSU Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Staff Development and Dean of Lyman Briggs College) and Dr. R. Sekhar Chivukula (distinguished professor of Physics at UC San Diego, former MSU Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education and Dean of Undergraduate Studies).

The award is for exemplary work in academic leadership at the ranks of: department chair, school director, assistant dean, or associate dean (individuals must be currently holding one of these positions at the time of nomination). An individual will be selected annually on the basis of consistently demonstrated excellence in academic leadership, including the dimensions of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

An individual will be selected based on consistently demonstrated excellence in academic leadership in the following ways:

  • Demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and fosters an inclusive and equitable environment within their unit
  • Treats others with tact, dignity, respect, and compassion
  • Empowers the success and development of others
  • Develops and communicates a clear vision for the unit
  • Operates from a premise of openness, honesty, and transparency
  • Displays awareness of own feelings, behaviors, values, and their potential impact on others
  • Exhibits humility, takes ownership of decisions and actions, and provides credit to others as appropriate
  • Develops networks, partnerships, and collaborations rather than operating primarily alone
  • Follows through on commitments, pays attention to detail
  • Is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement
  • Has served sufficient time in role to demonstrate transformative leadership

Nomination Process

Nominations packets for 2023 will be due Monday, November 20 (Deadline Extended!) at 11:59 p.m. (EST) and must be submitted using the Qualtrics form here.

The nominations may be submitted by faculty and academic staff, support staff, students, or individuals across these roles.  It is anticipated that the strongest packets will have broad, collective support.

Materials to submit

  • Letter of nomination (no more than three pages of text, signatures do not count toward page limit)
    • The letter should address the criteria mentioned above with specific examples to show how the candidate exemplifies transformative leadership. Examples should discuss both the cause and effect of a particular instance.
  • Candidate’s CV
  • Candidate’s essay on leadership as an MSU administrator, including their philosophy, accomplishments, and impact (no more than 2 pages)

Materials will be reviewed by a committee to create a short-list of candidates. Letters of support will then be requested from the supervisors of these individuals before a final decision is made. The recipient will receive a $2000 award and will be honored at the spring All-University Awards Ceremony.

All-University Awards nominations, including those for the Simmons Chivukula Award for Academic Leadership, will be reviewed for misconduct and violations of University policy to ensure alignment with the University’s Mission and Values prior to being advanced for committee review.

Lastly, a nominee not selected for the Simmons Chivukula Award for Academic Leadership may resubmit their nomination packet in subsequent award cycle; however, all materials must be updated before resubmitting.


Contact Information

If you have questions, please contact Cindi Leverich at youngcin@msu.edu.