Jackson embodies ideals expressed in Ferrari Award
The criteria for the Administrative Staff’s annual Dr. Michael R. Ferrari Award include innovation and initiative, high performance and building relationships with the University community. Jeffery Jackson, the 2017 winner of the top administrative staff award, exhibits all those and more, according to his nominators.
Jackson, assistant vice president for student career success and director of the Career Center, received the award, which comes with a $1,000 cash prize and a reserved parking spot for a year, at the spring reception hosted by Administrative Staff Council.
“Jeff truly embodies all three attributes of this prestigious award,” wrote Danielle Dimoff, associate director of the Career Center. “He is known for his energetic and optimistic attitude when working through student concerns, while demonstrating a sense of compassion toward every individual. He is an innovative leader who goes above and beyond the responsibilities of his position. He is a relationship builder who strives to strengthen University partnerships with stakeholders. He is a strategic thinker who approaches each new challenge as a new opportunity. Above all, he is an educator who recognizes and cares about the success and future of Bowling Green State University.”
Jackson has been involved with creative new approaches to ensure the career readiness of BGSU graduates, Dimoff said. These include partnering with the Office of Pre-Major Advising to support students through the Deciding Student Program with such activities as Major Match-Up, the Career and Life Planning course and numerous others. He also helped develop the Falcon Internship Guarantee Program, designed to prepare first-year students experiential learning opportunities. And along with that, he created the Falcon Internship Guarantee Ambassador and Career Center Student Ambassador programs, which provide students opportunities to serve their peers while gaining leadership experience.
Students who have served as Career Center Student Ambassadors report how much they gained from it, and several have gone on to pursue careers in higher education.
These activities and more reflect “Jeff’s efforts to support students in not just finding a job, but finding a fulfilling career path,” Dimoff said.
Jackson has taken the lead on enhancing partnerships between employers, students, faculty and staff members across the country. He created and implemented the Employer Symposium to bring these groups together and engage in meaningful dialogue on career-related topics, Dimoff said. He also served as project director for three Ohio Means Internships and Co-ops grants totaling over $2.8 million in funding, which he oversaw for BGSU and partner institutions.
On campus, he has brought a more inclusive approach to Career Center events and opportunities, noted nominator Sheila Brown, associate director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Under his leadership, employees from every department have been invited to participate in the Career Expos and job fairs, she said. This has not only raised awareness tremendously among the University community but has also enhanced the success of the events by drawing upon the talents of everyone from graduate students to faculty to administrative and classified staff members, all in a spirit of camaraderie and community.
Among those is the computer science department. Dr. Joe Chao, department chair, said that since Jackson came to the Career Center in 2013, he has partnered with computer science on many events and initiatives, from faculty involvement in the career fairs to connecting the department with employers to individual student concerns.
He has also made a great effort to serve as a role model for students of color and to support the creation of groups such as KINGS (Knowledge Is Necessary for Growth and Success) and “We Got Each Other,” a weekly dialogue series for young African-American men. Jackson recruited male staff and community members to serve as speakers and mentors.
Said Dawn Chong, director of Student Employment Services, “He’s been a tireless advocate for the students we serve. I’ve seen him spend countless hours attending functions given by both the University community and the Career Center. As we all know, academics is only one way of the ways students will be impacted while attending BGSU; working with and encouraging them to be their best selves can profoundly affect their futures.”
Jackson’s care for students extends to international students and BGSU students going abroad, said Dr. Marcia Salazar-Valentine, director of International Programs and Partnerships (IPP). He worked with IPP to develop a yearly presentation to international students to provide a customized session to prepare for their job searches in the U.S. He also customized information for international students attending the Career Fair to help them easily identify companies willing to hire international students, both steps that demonstrate to the students the care BGSU has for them, she said. Likewise, he has been active in developing internships abroad for BGSU students.
“He is student-centered, open to new initiatives that will benefit them, and willing to reach out to or respond to those who want to collaborate with him,” Salazar-Valentine said.