Statement of Wonderfulness
In Celebration of
Office of the Dean of Student Life
The actual award presentation went something like this . . .
It has been my pleasure to sleuth for the Student Life Area. The award recipient has been described by as: "You are an extraordinary spirit whose energy and humor lights a path to excellence. Within your leadership, you have created space for others to grow and nurture themselves and members of the Student Life Team. I treasure your leadership for allowing me to take risks and enrich my professional development. Thank you for being an inspiration, a colleague and a fun golf partner. Well done!"
Another person had this to say: “She motivates and challenges people to be their best selves. I often leave meetings with them re-charged and ready to take on new challenges. This person is a trusted colleague who approaches leadership in a way I truly admire - with respect for others, a focus on the positive, and always, with integrity.” She is a mentor who understands when to give advice and when to just shut up and listen.”
Other comments about her included: “Her unselfish commitment to students and to the mission of the division of Student Affairs is unsurpassed by any other colleague I know,” and “her very presence is a hug”
With that, it is my pleasure to present the Service Award for Student Life to Jackie Balzer.
This part is just for you . . .
“Jackie epitomizes leadership. She is upbeat, hard-working, caring, and conscientious. Her unselfish commitment to students and to the mission of the division of Student Affairs is unsurpassed by any other colleague I know. She is a fine mentor, with an excellent understanding of the need to keep healthy boundaries in place in her relationships with students – not so she can keep them at a distance but so she can teach them, challenge them, and provide modeling that will help them develop professionally and personally.
As Dean of Students, she deals with it all – the good, the bad, and the ugly. She brings humor to this difficult job and never fails to find hope and maintain optimism even when dealing with the most painful of situations. I have watched her work with students, parents, faculty, and staff – in each case she brings integrity and courage, knowing that much rides on her ability to balance the need for care with the need for discipline. Jackie makes my work easier, even on the days when we don’t talk with one another. Knowing she is at OSU, that she is bringing her admirable professionalism and her personal qualities to our mission – just knowing this makes my job easier!
Jackie breathes life into the Campus Compact by her actions every day. She cares fully and without shame; she is unflaggingly committed to justice and recognizes that it is a complicated concept; she is devoted to the diverging purposes of her job and is willing to go the extra mile to reach them; she celebrates and reminds others to celebrate; she is disciplined, never losing sight of the goals and the sacrifices necessary to reach them; she is open to other people and to the lessons that life and the universe send her way.” -- Ellen Taylor
“Jackie's very presence is a hug. Her authenticity and ability to create a safe and welcoming environment has become hallmark in the work of the Office of the Dean of Students. Whether it is engaging students, faculty, staff, or parents, Jackie is purposeful about enabling individuals to be successful learners, teachers, leaders, and supporters.
Jackie’s warm, down-to-earth laughter usually precedes her entry into a room. That same warmth infuses her greeting of those entering her office. All who seek her counsel receive a thoughtful, respectful response. Her listening is skillful and linked to her genuine interest in the person with whom she is speaking. Even if someone gets an answer they don’t like, it’s been delivered kindly and fairly.
Because of her composure she is an effective leader in crisis management, no matter the scale. A lifelong learner, she applies excellent study principles to her work which results in a leader who is prepared to lead. Jackie’s honest approach and can-do attitudes help people operate and situations be managed in real time in the real world where options are explored until they run out. She highly values collaboration and is an avid appreciator of others’ ideas.
The University has asked a lot of Jackie in the role of Interim Dean of Students. She has not let the challenges manage her or the Student Life Team; rather, she has met them with graciousness and resolve to start and stay with the difficult conversations, make decisions, and assess situations – some inherited, some inherent to the office - always thinking forward but looking around and back to make sure no one feels left behind. Learning the job, developing a Student Life Team, learning to live with a new assistant… work days are long and full but matched by Jackie’s capacity to go with the flow and her determination to experience each day as it comes.
Jackie could be described by all the terms of the Campus Compact; purposeful, disciplined, open, caring, just, celebrative. And I would add to that list passionate, unwavering in commitment, fun, generous, animated, productive, friendly… the ideal eager [OSU] Beaver.” --Debby Widony
"You are an extraordinary spirit whose energy and humor lights a path to excellence. Within your leadership, you have created space for others to grow and nurture themselves and members of the Student Life Team. I treasure your leadership for allowing me to take risks and enrich my professional development. Thank you for being an inspiration, a colleague and a fun golf partner.
Well done!" – Kris Winter
10th Annual Service Awards Celebration
Division of Student Affairs
Oregon State University
May 26, 2005