Ongoing efforts to support students throughout their college years earned Jacqueline Wallace of the college’s Career Services Office the SUNY Oswego President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Staff Service.

The award recognizes outstanding and exemplary efforts in promoting excellence at the college, service philosophy and leadership and involvement on and off campus. President Deborah F. Stanley presented the award Aug. 21 at the college's annual Academic Affairs Retreat.

The career coach for students entering the fields of education and public and human services, Wallace is consistently “an extraordinary professional who is innovative, adaptable and regularly goes above and beyond in all she does,” said her nominators, Kathleen Evans, the assistant vice president of student affairs, and Michelle Bandla, director of EXCEL (Experiential Courses and Engaged Learning).

“Jackie has an outstanding record of service in support of students at SUNY Oswego, and is a highly-regarded and committed member of our local community,” Evans and Bandla wrote. “Jackie has served in several roles in the Division of Student Affairs, working tirelessly to ensure that all students have opportunities and support through each milestone of their college career.”

Earning both her bachelor’s degree in business administration and her master of business administration from SUNY Oswego, Wallace played a key role in creating a learner-centered culture for the college’s First Year Residential Experience program in Johnson Hall about 15 years ago. She transitioned to assistant director of advisement and coordinator of first-year retention, where she led efforts that helped the college exceed its goal for retaining first-year students.

Developing strengths

When two departments merged, Wallace joined the college’s Career Services Office as undeclared advisement coordinator and assistant director of major and career exploration. She led efforts to support more than 200 undeclared first-year students every year, guiding and training a team of about 15 first-year advisors to help students with self-assessment, major exploration and academic advisement. 

“Jackie’s focus on developing individual strengths, as well as her commitment to the holistic support of students, has been integral to her success in providing leadership in Career Services,” Evans and Bandla wrote. “More recently, Jackie coordinates the training and supervision of student interns (Navigators) and Graduate Assistants in the Compass Resource Center, student ambassadors who provide resources to students in the areas of internship/career/graduate school exploration.”

Always ready to put her skills to work wherever she can help, Wallace temporarily transitioned into an interim role as assistant dean of students for student conduct until the college was able to refill the important position, nominators said. “Jackie is a fair and impartial advocate, and has always exhibited compassion and support to all students she works with,” they noted.

Wallace’s ongoing dedication includes statewide leadership with the SUNY Career Development Organization, where her efforts in advancing its development and organizing its annual conference earned her the organization’s President’s Award for Going Above and Beyond and the President’s Award for Excellence. On campus, she has served as a voting member of Faculty Assembly and on many key committees. Wallace also has advised student organizations including the Non-Traditional Student Organization, Mu Sigma Upsilon, Phi Sigma Upsilon, Phi Lambda Phi and Cut the Craft.

“Jackie's service on the campus includes search committee and advisory committee work, but is strongest in student career development, complementing her roles in student affairs,” Elizabeth Dunne-Schmitt, chair of the college’s Faculty Assembly, noted in telling the governance group about the award. “In the community, Jackie has been a part of Zonta International, Leadership Oswego County and the Frederick Leighton Elementary Home and School Association, where she was instrumental in the rebuilding projects for its playground.”