Newman University’s annual Staff and Teaching Excellence Awards were announced at a ceremony held on Friday, May 5.
Lindsey Stillwell, assistant professor of social work and interim director of the Bachelor of Social Work program, won the Faculty Excellence Award. Emily Simon, assistant director for Campus Ministry and the Honors program, won the Staff Excellence Award.
Lindsey Stillwell — Educating with purpose
Stillwell won the Faculty Excellence Award out of more than 50 nominations.
Although Stillwell was unable to attend the ceremony in person due to her attending the University of St. Mary commencement ceremony at which she received her doctoral degree, she tuned in via Zoom and was surprised with a phone call from President Kathleen Jagger with the news that she won. Her live reaction via Zoom was priceless.
“It was unexpected,” Stillwell said of receiving the award. “At the same time, there was a moment of deep pride. I feel like I work really hard to be a huge advocate for our students, and I really put students at the center of everything that I do. So for our students to actually speak up when we know that sometimes students don’t acknowledge us for the work that we do made me incredibly proud.”
One nominator of Stillwell’s wrote, “This professor is great at interacting with students and never makes one feel that they are less than anyone else.”
Another wrote, “This professor always connects what we are learning to the bigger picture of our profession and the world in general. She always asks questions that help us to see below just the surface of material we learn.”
Stillwell began her relationship with Newman as an adjunct faculty member in 2019 and then became a visiting professor of social work in 2020. Two years later, she became an assistant professor of social work. This year, in addition to teaching, she served as a special assistant to the vice president of academic affairs for retention, part of the CREDO activity on campus.
One of her nominators summed her up best: “Stillwell is an incredible role model of a professor who is working to empower students transform society.”
Emily Simon’s broad impact
Simon won the Staff Excellence Award out of more than 30 different nominations, and the honor recognizes the many hats she wears in Campus Ministry, the Honors program and beyond.
Before announcing Simon’s name, Jagger described the winner as “an active member of the Newman community who oftentimes seems to be able to bilocate and even trilocate in performance of various duties.”
In fact, Simon had to be pulled away from an end-of-the-year Honors reception she was working in order to accept her staff award.
“Rachel (Lang) came up to me and said, ‘You need to leave now. You are needed in the conference room,'” Simon said with a laugh. “So yes, I was very surprised.”
Simon said she loves the work she does because it serves the students “who are so amazing and so wonderful,” she said.
“But sometimes you begin to wonder, is the work that I’m doing noticed? Is the work that I’m doing effective? Am I doing it well? So to have people nominate me for this award is really great, and I’m really thankful.”
A 2016 Newman alumna, Simon returned to the university a couple years after graduation to work in the archives for four months before transferring to the library as library associate for two years.
In October 2017, she became assistant director of campus ministry and the Honors program. During this time, Simon also completed a master’s degree in theology.
Wrote one nominator, “She works very hard and puts in a number of hours each week outside of work spending time with students or working for the sake of students.”
Jagger added, “She is visionary, dependable and hard-working. She is creative, dedicated and selfless. Emily is organized and does her work beyond the ordinary standard.”
She concluded with the words of another nominator: “I believe Emily helps solidify the mission of Newman University.”
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