Congratulations to our own Jennie Babcock for receiving The Ohio State University’s 2020 Distinguished Staff Award. This award annually honors 12 individuals for their outstanding achievements, service, leadership and dedication to the university and is the highest honor bestowed upon staff since its inception in 1984.
In 2004, Jennie joined the college as a field education coordinator and in 2009, she was promoted to her current position as undergraduate program director where she became the first staff member to assume that role. Under Jennie’s leadership, undergraduate enrollment has tripled, the program has transformed into one of the fastest growing at the university, and it is recognized as one of the largest in the nation.
During her career, Jennie has worked diligently to expand the undergraduate program to the four regional campuses, worked hand-in-hand with the college’s educational technology experts to monitor and revise courses, and developed an honors program identified by the associate provost and director of Honors and Scholars as a model for what the university is trying to achieve. Additionally, Jennie has helped redesign the general education curriculum, lead a university team to develop an interdisciplinary minor on substance misuse in the college, recently launched an interdisciplinary minor on child abuse and neglect, served on a statewide committee to address accreditation requirements for transfer credit across Ohio institutions, and the college’s annual scholarship committee.
And yet with all of these significant accomplishments, it’s the students Jennie impacts most. CSW students would probably be surprised to learn of all of Jennie’s administrative responsibilities because they think of her as always available and as a go-to person when they need assistance. Across the five campuses, the college has over 700 undergraduate students enrolled. And while it’s likely not true, it seems from the college’s vantage point that Jennie might not just know all of them, but be clearly aware of their goals, needs and aspirations. Jennie has mastered the skillful balance of both caring for and supporting them, while also holding them accountable. It is hard to imagine anyone more dedicated to students and their educational success.
As these impressive examples illustrate, Jennie’s accomplishments reflect consistent demonstration of many of the university values including collaboration, excellence,
accountability, innovation, empathy and compassion and leadership. It’s easy to imagine that an award acknowledging the most distinguished members of the university staff would be even more complete and representative with Jennie Babcock as a recipient. Please feel free to offer Jennie your personal congratulations via email or in person when we are all together again.