UK professor recognized for administrative excellence
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 14, 2023) — A University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment faculty member recently earned the 2023 Council of Administrators of Family and Consumer Sciences (CAFCS) Excellence in Administration award. Vanessa Jackson is the CAFE director of faculty diversity and inclusion, and acting UK vice president/associate provost for diverse faculty success professor.
Jackson has dedicated her career to teaching and research in diversification. She formerly served as the UK Department of Retailing and Tourism Management chair.
The CAFCS includes administrators, directors and department heads from colleges and universities throughout the United States offering family and consumer sciences programs. The organization advances FCS fields by supporting educational institutional FCS programs and promoting professional development among its members.
“This is really exciting, I feel fortunate to have received this award,” Jackson said. “I’m extremely lucky that I’m in a position where I get to provide opportunities to others. To win this CAFCS award is really humbling.”
Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in clothing and textiles from Southern University and received a master's degree and Ph.D. in human environment and design from Michigan State University. She has since devoted her life to student learning, women’s leadership and diversity.
During her UK tenure, Jackson collaborated with the CAFE Office of Diversity developing and implementing a faculty mentoring program. Additionally, she worked to create a four-module course on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the classroom. Jackson promotes transformative education by encouraging studying abroad and experiential learning. This includes spearheading a collaborative faculty effort to develop a successful online master's degree in retailing and tourism management. Based on her work, UK also named Jackson the acting associate vice president/associate provost for faculty success.
“Her work and everything she has done to promote the profession makes her very deserving of the award,” said Morgan State University assistant professor Jacqueline Holland, who nominated Jackson. “She has mentored others, been innovative in creating new programs within UK and worked with diversity, equity and inclusion within the college and university. I think just looking at all that she has accomplished in her scholarly work and research, she was very deserving of this award.”
Jackson’s current research focuses on the challenges women of color face in academic leadership positions and soft-skill development to increase student competitiveness in entry-level human sciences occupations.
As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.
In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.