Dr. Caroline Simon, who is interim dean for the social sciences and professor of philosophy at Hope College, has been chosen to receive a “2012 Distinguished Woman Leader Award” by the Michigan ACE (American Council on Education) Network for Women Leaders in Higher Education.

Simon will be one of three women to be presented the award on Tuesday, May 22, during the network’s annual conference, which will be held at Michigan State University in East Lansing.  The network has presented the award since 2001 to honor individuals who provide outstanding leadership to women and serve as advocates for women at a college or university.

A member of the Hope faculty since 1988, Simon has served in a variety of administrative capacities at the college in addition to teaching.  A member of the college’s Dean’s Council, she has been interim dean for the social sciences since 2010. 

Within her discipline of philosophy, Simon specializes in ethics, with an emphasis on the use of literature in moral reflection.  A significant number of Dr. Simon’s many publications highlight issues concerning women or incorporate feminist points of view. Among these are three of her books: “Bringing Sex into Focus: The Quest for Sexual Integrity,” published this spring, “Introduction to Ethics: A Reader,” co-edited with Hope College colleague Andrew Dell’Olio, and “The Disciplined Heart: Love, Destiny and Imagination.” Her articles and book chapters include “Love,” in “The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis,” “Redemptive Engagement with Cultural Conceptions of Sexuality,” “Seduction: Does How You Get to ‘Yes’ Still Matter?” “Taking the Plunge: A Kierkegaardian View of Marriage” and “Can Women and Men Be Friends?” She has also authored, with historian Dr. James Kennedy, “Can Hope Endure? A Historical Case Study in Christian Higher Education,” and has written numerous articles on the nature of Christian higher education.

Simon is currently director of Hope College’s Teagle Systematic Improvement of Student Learning Grant. Her past leadership roles at Hope College have included  campus coordinator for Hope College’s participation in the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, a term as one of two faculty Board of Trustees members, director of general education and interdisciplinary studies, faculty moderator, and interim director of women’s studies. From 2007 to 2010 she held the John and Jeanne Jacobson endowed professorship, to which faculty are appointed on a rotating basis.  In January 2007, she received the college’s “Provost’s Award for Service to the Academic Program.”

Simon currently serves as one of two distinguished Faculty Mentors for the Lilly Network’s national Lilly Graduate Fellows Program for selected Ph.D. students at elite universities across the U.S. Examples of Simon’s past national leadership roles include serving on the Board of Directors of the Lilly Network for Humanities and the Arts (a national organization of over 80 colleges and universities) and as a member of the national Executive Committee of the 1,000-member Society of Christian Philosophers. She directed the Lilly Mentoring Initiative, funded by the Lilly Endowment. This initiative involved faculty from a score of institutions and culminated in the publication of “Mentoring for Mission: Nurturing New Faculty at Church Related College” (Eerdmans, 2003).

Simon is a 1976 graduate of the University of Oregon.  She completed her master’s and doctorate at the University of Washington in 1980 and 1986 respectively.

In addition to Simon, those receiving the Distinguished Woman Leader Award at the May 22 conference are Deborah Hautau, biology instructor at Alpena Community College; and Marcy Weston, senior associate athletic director at Central Michigan University.  More information about the conference is available at www.miacenetwork.org.