Nancy Caldwell, Lake Land College music instructor, will receive the 2017 Faculty Association Outstanding Service Award at the commencement ceremony on Friday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lake Land College Field House.
In her 20 years at Lake Land College, Caldwell has impacted students, faculty, staff and community members through her leadership in developing a music curriculum, enhancing the college’s fine arts culture, steering achievements in general education expectations and leading musical groups.
“Nancy sets the bar high for her students. Her standards and rigor in the classroom are beyond reproach, yet her teaching style is relatable and approachable. This can be a difficult combination to acquire. Nancy does it beautifully,” Lara Bacino-Althaus, psychology instructor, said in her nomination of Caldwell.
In 1997, Caldwell joined Lake Land as the college’s first full-time music instructor. She developed the curricula, selected textbooks and equipped a classroom dedicated to the fine arts. She went on to develop a new course, Music in American History and Culture, to give Lake Land College students more options in the area of fine arts. She also created an online version of the course.
“She never loses sight of the fact that earlier musical styles, particularly classical music, are quite foreign to the typical 19-year-old student in east central Illinois, and works hard to draw a connection between these unfamiliar styles and the music students listen to every day,” Bacino-Althaus added.
Caldwell is the founder and director of the college’s Community Choir, which is celebrating its 20th year anniversary. The choir includes 50 people from the college and surrounding communities who come together to share their love of music and perform two concerts each year.
Caldwell also directs the annual Johnston Junior High Music Festival, an honors band and choir festival for area middle school students.
In addition to the fine arts, Caldwell shares her passion and dedication to educational excellence with her colleagues. For the past 12 years she has led the General Education Committee. During her tenure, the group solidified general education goals for all degree seeking students. In the past, these expectations were only set for students in transfer majors.
In 2004, Caldwell co-authored the college’s self-study report to the Higher Learning Commission and in 2012, she was nominated for the college’s employee Shine Award for her contributions to Lake Land College.
Caldwell serves on the executive committee of the Lake Land College Faculty Association as the president-elect. Next academic year she will serve as the vice president, followed by a year as the president.
Caldwell majored in piano performance at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and has a bachelor’s degree in music. She has master’s degrees in piano performance and music history and literature from the University of Houston and a doctorate in musicology from Indiana University.
Caldwell lives in Effingham with her husband Tom and two daughters, Madeline and Felicia.