SIU recognizes faculty and staff for exemplary work

By Evan Jones, @EvanJones_DE

SIU honored its best faculty and staff and recognized campus authors Monday in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors in Morris Library.

Award winners received a plaque, a medallion and a monetary award, which is to be used toward professional advancement. A total of $19,500 was awarded to the recipients.

After President Randy Dunn recognized the award winners and campus authors, there was a reception in the first-floor rotunda.


Sara Baer, one of the two University Women of Distinction Award winners, said she is not sure how she will use the monetary prize.

“I haven’t put much thought into it, but I would like to attend an international conference,” Baer said. “It’s a privilege work at SIU and help students on a daily basis.” 

Dunn also recognized 57 campus authors, many of whom also released newer editions to already published books. Three authors released three books apiece in the past year.

“I’m highly impressed by the number of authors located at this size university,” Dunn said. “It’s a great chance to step out and establish themselves in their field,” Dunn said.

Criteria for deciding the winners were based on superior scholarship, teaching and service. Karen Renzaglia, winner of the Scholar Excellence Award, was the primary investigator on grants totaling $15 million, according to an SIU press release.

Heads of their departments, peers and colleagues nominated the award winners. Faculty and staff wrote letters of recommendation.

“I had people send in letters from universities across the country and even internationally,” said Justin Filiberto, winner of the Early Career Faculty Excellence Award. “It’s great to be recognized, but I just have to keep doing what I’m doing.”


The Faculty and Staff Excellence Award recipients are: 

Karen Renzaglia, Scholar Excellence Award winner, a professor in the Plant Biology department in the College of Science

Gary Apgar, Teaching Excellence Award winner, an associate professor in the Animal Science, Food and Nutrition Department in the College of Agricultural Sciences

Justin Filiberto, Early Career Faculty Excellence Award winner, an assistant professor of geology in the College of Science

Winners of the Women of Distinction Excellence Award were Sara Baer, professor of plant biology in the College of Science, and Cheryl Jenise Wilson, chief academic adviser in the College of Engineering.

Winners of the Staff Excellence Award were Rachel Shurtz, manager of the Department of Zoology’s Natural Science Laboratory and Jeff Goelz, assistant director of Recreational Sports and Services. 

Evan Jones can be reached at [email protected]