Thursday, September 17, 2020

Marie Watson named the UIS Employee of the Month for August 2020

Marie Watson has been named the University of Illinois Springfield Employee of the Month for August 2020. She is the associate director of Student Life.

Watson’s nominator calls her “the epitome of Leadership Lived,” while her supervisor says “she’s brought new life” to every area of Student Life under her leadership, including the Student Activities Committee, the leadership program and the cultural/diversity and Greek registered student organizations for which she is the liaison.

“The nature of Marie’s job requires her to be present within the student community outside of the traditional 8 a.m.-5 p.m. workday,” her nominator said. “You will find Marie on campus after hours, on the weekends, sacrificing time at home with her family to be a support system and advocate for students. Marie does not complain or tire, instead she does quite the opposite, she thrives.”

Not only does Watson work long hours to help support student groups and programming on campus, but she also creates an environment where students feel “welcome, included and comfortable.”

“Many times when I walk by her office, she has students sitting at her table talking about life, work or school,” her nominator said. “She has created an atmosphere where students want to engage, participate, give of their time and grow personally and professionally. Marie has gone above and beyond to help support students in bringing diverse programs, speakers and professional development opportunities.”

During the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, she challenged everyone in the Student Affairs Division to engage with students virtually. She started the Virtual Engagement Committee and hosted weekly meetings that allowed all members to connect, share ideas and successes. She also hosted a series of Instagram lives, which were popular with students.

“She had guests from all over campus and included student leaders,” said her nominator. “She found ways that were not traditional to engage our students and by doing so set the bar for the other U of I campuses and campuses across the U.S. Her work has created a new norm that will be incorporated in the future, so that students from all over, not just residential, but also commuter and online students can participate in the college experience.”

In addition to her Student Life responsibilities, Watson has also chaired a job search committee and served on various other campus committees. In the community, she has served on the planning committee for the Springfield Art Association’s Fine Art Fair.

“Marie is highly dependable and productive,” said Cynthia Thompson, her supervisor. “Even with a family and the added responsibilities of COVID-19, she has managed to complete all tasks assigned to her – as well as a few new and innovative ones.”

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