When Nick Lockwood, director of orientation and new student outreach, was asked to describe what it felt like to win the Employee of the Quarter award this January, he replied: “Humbling.”
Lockwood continued, “That was my immediate sense. I was humbled. There are so many other things that people do as units, as teams and as a community here at UCCS that support our efforts in Orientation. There are so many other people behind the scenes doing important work that deserve recognition, too.”
His colleagues in the Office of Admissions, several of whom nominated Lockwood for the award, seem to have anticipated this.
As Chris Beiswanger, director of Admissions, wrote in his nomination letter, “If you pick Nick for this award, he’s going to deflect all the positive energy towards the others around him. He’ll say that he’s lucky and fortunate to be surrounded by the people he has. He’ll never take the credit.”
Beiswanger continued, “But I’d tell him that this is one time he must take the credit, because it is we who are fortunate. It is we who are constantly lifted up by his positive influence. It is we who are better because of him.”
Lockwood has implemented improvements across the board in Orientation. He’s worked to build an orientation program at UCCS that takes into account the first-year experience as a whole – from the anxiety of transitioning into a new environment to educating first-year students on what it takes to have a successful college career.
Along with orientation program coordinator Hailey Santonastaso, Lockwood recently won the CU Innovation and Efficiency Award Expo for creating an orientation mobile app. He creates opportunities for departments across campus to connect with new students, and he and his student workers meet frequently with the Department of Student Life to learn how to improve the orientation program year over year.
“Nick never rests on his accomplishments, and never takes credit,” Beiswanger wrote in his nomination letter. “He is always evaluating and enhancing UCCS Orientation in ways never thought of before. Then he reflects and finds new ways to make small refinements that have big impacts.”
Perhaps most notably, Lockwood is the driving force behind critical improvements in the online orientation process for new and transfer students.
In the past, new UCCS students who completed the online orientation program were often stuck in limbo for several days. They couldn’t register for classes, get connected with their academic advisor or even matriculate fully into the university.
Lockwood worked to change that.
“Online orientation is an access point for students who have conflicts in attending new student orientation,” he explained. “We have students from different states completing online orientation, all the way down to students who may be local, but who have families or full-time work that makes it really challenging to get to campus. By collaborating across campus, we were able to identify some of those pain points for our students and streamline that process.”
Because of Lockwood’s efforts to remove barriers for new students, it now takes less than a business day for students to get access to resources at UCCS.
“Now we see that orientation becomes less of a cause for concern,” Lockwood said. “Connecting with an academic advisor and registering for classes – it helps new students feel like they’re a part of the UCCS community from day one.”
Even more than his work to streamline and improve orientation at UCCS, Lockwood’s staff and colleagues highlight his dedication to programs outside of his office – as well as his kindness, patience and easygoing positivity.
“Nick is always willing to assist anyone on the UCCS campus,” several staff members wrote in a combined nomination letter. “In fact, he often jumps at the opportunity – shown from his time volunteering in employee searches and staff committees and participating in Clyde’s Kick-off, Premiere Night, Smart Moves and Housing move-in. Nick also lends his strengths to teach Gateway Program Seminar classes to first-year students throughout the academic year.”
They continued, “We cannot think of anyone more deserving for this award. Over the past five years, Nick has taught us the importance of patience, collaboration, and what a student focused value truly means. His only area of growth is to learn how to acknowledge his professional influence.”
In recognition of his efforts, Lockwood will receive a $100 stipend, three months of a free and reserved parking space, a $40 voucher to the UCCS Bookstore and one day of administrative leave.
Do you have a colleague whose extraordinary efforts at UCCS deserve to be recognized? Nominate them for the Employee of the Quarter award.