Jackson Selected Employee of the Month by Co-workersPublished: February 16, 2009
Duan Jackson, assistant director of University Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies, was recently named by her coworkers as Employee of the Month.
“I feel honored, humbled and surprised to be named,” said the Norwalk resident who joined the university in 1996. “I get embarrassed by things like this because I just try to do my job and not give recognition much thought.”
CSULB President F. King Alexander praised Jackson for her total commitment to the university and willingness to go the extra mile.
Jackson began her career at CSULB in Academic Affairs 18 years ago as a Clerical Assistant II. Since then, she has worked in Payroll, Information Technology Services and Romance/German/Russian Languages and Literatures before returning to Academic Affairs where she has remained.
Jackson joined the University Honors Program in October 1996 as the assistant to the director. She brings to the department a background that includes both fiscal and computer experience. She completed her bachelor’s degree in English in 1998 and her master’s in English in 2002 at CSULB where this year she received a second master’s in public policy and administration.
Jackson has nurtured an interest in advising and counseling by working closely with students. It has given her perspective on just how important it is for students to have someone they can go to for correct information.
“As assistant director of University Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies, I serve as an advisor to more than 400 students,” she said. “I love working with them and helping them to meet their professional and academic goals. Many go on to graduate school and get great jobs. It means a lot to me to help make their dreams come true. I didn’t plan for this job but working here has turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me.”
An average day’s challenges include working with students in one-on-one advising sessions. “If they join the program in their freshman year, I am pretty much with them until they graduate,” she said. “I try to get to know our students so that I can steer them in the right direction and to help them make wise choices.”
She is especially pleased with her Academic Affairs connection for the way it has helped her to better serve the students. “By beginning there, I came to know the deans, their assistants and faculty members,” she explained. “It turned out to be a great place to get to know the campus.”
Jackson feels her professional skill set includes an ability to listen and a thorough knowledge of university policies and resources. “One of the advantages to being on campus for 18 years is knowing the right people,” she said. “If I don’t know the answer, I can find out.”
One of the keys to her job is staying current. “I am constantly training and retooling to make sure I can give our students accurate information about the resources available to them such as scholarships, internships and study abroad opportunities,” she said. “I understand that our students depend on me for accurate information. As a matter of fact, one of the things I enjoy most about my job is that students believe I know everything, which keeps me doing constant research on all academic disciplines.”
One of her favorite times on campus is commencement. “I preside at an annual banquet every year where certificates and medallions are presented,” she said. “I feel a sense of pride in how hard students work to enter graduate school or to find employment.”
Since 2005, Jackson has served as a union steward for Unit 4 of the Academic Professionals of California which has taken her up and down the state. “This has represented a whole other level of service and has meant a great deal to me,” she said. “I feel committed to working on behalf of Unit 4’s members. I’m learning a lot in my position. It has taken me in different directions and I feel I have grown personally and professionally.”
When she isn’t advising students or representing APC members, Jackson enjoys dining with friends and seeing the occasional movie. “Up to now, my life has been consumed by education,” she said. “But now that I’ve got my second master’s, I feel ready to get my life back. Between the university, the union and my job, I keep busy.”
Jackson hopes to continue her interest in labor relations, personnel management and employer-employee relations. “My goal is to learn how to get everyone to work well with everyone else,” she said. “I certainly have no plans to leave the university. I love my job and the people I work with.”
Jackson is glad she joined CSULB. “It was a blessing to end up here,” she said. “I want to continue to be an advocate for lifelong learning and I’m confident that, somewhere down the line, there is another degree or certificate for me to acquire.”
Jackson received several gifts in addition to seeing Friendship Walk renamed Duan Jackson Lane including a CSULB sweatshirt, a $25 gift certificate to Taco Beach, a gift certificate for four tickets to a 2008-09 CSULB home game, a free entree and soft drink at the California Pizza Kitchen and a coupon for one free Whopper from Burger King.