Leslie B. Sims
Leslie B. Sims, former Graduate College Dean and Associate Provost for Graduate Studies, The University of Iowa

In recognition of contributions to the University of Iowa and to graduate education nationwide, the Graduate College presents the L.B. Sims Outstanding Master's Thesis Award.

Leslie B. Sims was Graduate College Dean, Associate Provost for Graduate Education, and Vice Provost at the University of Iowa (1991-2001). He went on to national-level work with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) in Washington, D.C. (2001-2006) as dean-in-residence. While at CGS, he focused on the Ford and Sloan funded Professional Master's Projects and has written a book on the professional master's degree.

The L. B. Sims Outstanding Master's Thesis Award is given annually to recognize the excellent scholarship and research carried out by University of Iowa graduate students pursuing Master's degrees—a group with fewer opportunities for such recognition than for students pursuing doctoral degrees.

Each recipient of the L. B. Sims Award receives a $500 honorarium and a certificate from the Graduate College. In addition, the Graduate College submits the winning theses as the institution's nomination for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) Distinguished Thesis Award. MAGS adopted the four disciplinary categories used by CGS: Biological/Life Sciences, Physical Sciences/Engineering, Social Sciences, and Humanities.

Following MAGS, the Graduate College will consider nominations from the Social Sciences and Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering for the 2021 cycle. Theses from the other two categories will be considered next year.

MAGS selects two nominees, who will each receive $750 and be recognized at the MAGS Annual Meeting in Spring 2021. The Graduate College will honor recipients of the L.B. Sims Award in the spring at a special reception held in conjunction with the James F. Jakobsen Graduate Research Conference, organized by the Graduate Student Senate.

Nominations for the 2021 award are due October 15, 2020 and must meet the following criteria:

  • Nominated theses should represent highly original research that makes a significant contribution to their field.
  • Nominations will be accepted from Social Sciences and Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering in which the University of Iowa offers a master's degree. However, original works accepted by the University "in lieu of thesis" (e.g. works of art) may not be nominated.
  • Each department may nominate one candidate to the Graduate College.
  • Each nominee must have been awarded the Master's degree within the calendar year from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020.
  • Because the intent of the competition is to recognize scholarship by students who are pursuing their first graduate research degree, individuals who received a Ph.D. (or comparable research degree) in any discipline prior to the writing of the Master's thesis are not eligible. However, recipients of a first professional degree awarded prior to the writing of the thesis may be nominated.

A subcommittee of the Graduate Council will select the Sims Award winners, who will then become University nominees for the for the MAGS prize.

Nominations should be submitted online with the following items attached as separate PDF documents:

  • An electronic copy of the thesis.
  • An electronic copy of the abstract. The abstract – describing the research and its significance – must not exceed 300 words and should contain the title of the thesis and the name of the author but not the name of the institution.
  • A letter from the thesis supervisor (signed and scanned as a PDF).
  • An electronic copy of the student's curriculum vitae.

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