Office of the Provost; OUR Clemson

Cynthia Sims named inaugural director of the Clemson University Faculty ADVANCEment Office


Cynthia Sims, Ph.D., has been named the inaugural director of the Clemson University Faculty ADVANCEment Office. Currently Associate Professor, Master of Human Resource Development, Department of Educational and Organizational Leadership at Clemson, Sims began this new position January 1, 2023.

“Cynthia has been one of our most productive leaders in building the success of all faculty at Clemson,” said Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Robert Jones. “Her experience and enthusiasm are valuable assets as we further this important effort.”

The Clemson University Faculty ADVANCEment Office is being launched from the National Science Foundation (NSF) seed-funded TIGERS Advance program. The goal of the NSF ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of a more diverse science and engineering workforce and setting up the Faculty ADVANCEment Office is an important transition to institutionalize Clemson University’s NSF-funded program. The office will work to provide opportunities for all faculty, regardless of gender and intersectional identity, to advance their careers and flourish as members of Clemson University and as recognized and celebrated experts in their scholarly discipline.

The newly named Clemson University Faculty ADVANCEment Office had the following successes when funded as NSF TIGERS Advance:

  • Cultivated faculty leadership development and recognition through the Trailblazers faculty leadership program and the TIGERS Advance Distinguished Speakers Series with 113 and 30 faculty fully participating in both of these programs, respectively.
  • Launched a transformation of evaluations of teaching effectiveness through research-informed proposals to update the course evaluation survey question bank and expand evaluation methods.
  • Promoted two work/life policies—Faculty Support and Accommodation Plan (FSAP) and Dual Career Hiring.
  • Piloted a study of equitable workload distribution, with 35 faculty participating in TIGERS Time Diary research.
  • Established the University Faculty Mentoring Committee.
  • Opened deeper conversations about campus climate and representation with more than 160 faculty becoming TIGERS advocates through workshops on strategies for advancing allyship of women and minoritized colleagues.
  • Expanded the Pathways postdoctoral research program to increase representation of minoritized faculty in STEM.

In her new role as director of the Faculty Career ADVANCEment Office, Sims’ mission will be to cultivate and implement research informed programs that support faculty through culturally responsive and equity minded strategies. Initially, programs will focus on mid-career faculty mentoring and faculty reviews—some examples of which are TPR, annual reviews and teaching effectiveness. She will co-mentor a research assistant professor or postdoctoral researcher whose scholarship supports institutional assessments for the office. She will also co-lead two faculty affairs fellows in strategic focus area teams for Faculty Mentoring and Bias in Faculty Reviews. Building on the experiences of the NSF grant-funded TIGERS Advance Program, Sims will will work to align the work of this office to the goals established by the University’s strategic plan.

“I am committed to fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment where all faculty members can thrive,” says Sims. “With an initial focus on mid-career mentoring and review bias, the Faculty Career ADVANCEment Office will provide research-based practices that promote equity, faculty success and career progression.”

About Cynthia Sims

Sims’ research focuses on the ways gender and diversity influence the enactment of leadership in the workplace. She founded and co-led Trailblazers, Clemson’s gender equity leadership development and mentoring program for faculty and an NSF ADVANCE initiative. She is a member of the Board of Directors, Academy of Human Resource Development and earned her doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Prior to her academic career, Sims was employed by a Fortune 100 company, serving as the Director of Staff Operations, Director of Learning and Performance Improvement and Director of Human Resources.