LEXINGTON, Kentucky (March 14, 2023) – A faculty member from the University of Kentucky’s College of Agriculture, Food and Environment recently received 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 Professors.
Jackson has dedicated her career to teaching and researching diversification. She was previously Chair of the UK Department for Retail and Tourism Management.
The CAFCS includes administrators, directors, and department heads from colleges and universities across the United States that offer programs in family and consumer sciences. The organization advances FCS areas by supporting FCS educational programs and promoting the professional development of its members.
“It’s really exciting, I feel lucky to have received this award,” Jackson said. “I’m very fortunate to be in a position where I can offer opportunities to others. Winning this CAFCS award is really humbling.”
Jackson earned a bachelor’s degree in apparel and textiles from Southern University and received a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Human Environment and Design from Michigan State University. Since then, she has dedicated her life to student learning, women’s leadership, and diversity.
During her time in the UK, Jackson worked with the CAFE Office of Diversity to develop and implement a faculty mentoring programme. In addition, she worked on creating a four-module course on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the classroom. Jackson promotes transformative education by encouraging study abroad and experiential learning. This includes leading a joint faculty effort to develop a successful online master’s degree in retail and tourism management. Based on her work, UK also appointed Jackson as acting Associate Vice President/Associate Provost for faculty success.
“Her work and everything she has done to advance the profession makes her a very well deserved award,” said Jacqueline Holland, an assistant professor at Morgan State University who nominated Jackson. “She has mentored others, innovated in creating new programs in the UK and worked with diversity, equity and inclusion within the college and university. I think that if you just look at what she has achieved in her academic work and research, she is very deserving of this award.”
Jackson’s current research focuses on the challenges faced by women of color in academic leadership positions and the development of soft skills to increase student competitiveness in entry-level humanities careers.