Barbara Jackson, PhD, recognized by WCA

by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications | October 16, 2020

Image with caption: Barbara Jackson, PhD, director of the MMI Department of Education and Child Development (photo by Rachel Nuncio Photography/courtesy WCA)

Barbara Jackson, PhD, director of the MMI Department of Education and Child Development (photo by Rachel Nuncio Photography/courtesy WCA)

The Munroe-Meyer Institute's Barbara Jackson, PhD, director of the MMI Department of Education and Child Development, is one of 10 women leaders who will be honored by the Women's Center for Advancement at its 2020 Tribute to Women event.

Honorees were chosen for their life-changing work and impact supporting women and girls.

Kindness, compassion and grace

Dr. Jackson's collaborators at the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation shared these thoughts:

  • "Barb is always the voice of reason at the table. She has the unique ability to listen to lengthy and sometimes heated conversations and then synthesize it all into some type of doable action. She is always able to articulate a solid idea and starting place. I have never left a meeting with Barb wondering what is going to happen next."
  • "Barb is the difficult-to-find blend of academic and easygoing people-person. She works hard to ensure that projects are completed with the rigor and timeliness expected of her role, but she does so with the kindness, compassion and grace of someone who truly understands people. She brings a vast store of knowledge to every project she works on but is also open-minded, patient and considers new ideas without ego. Barb is someone that you always want in your corner, supporting your initiative, as everyone on your team will be better for it."

Dr. Jackson, a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has spent her entire 33-year career at MMI improving the quality of care, health outcomes and educational support for countless young children and their families.

"I was surprised, because the women who are being honored represent some pretty fantastic women who have done some really remarkable things over the course of their careers," Dr. Jackson said.

As nominator Rosie Zweiback noted, Dr. Jackson's career began in the early 1970s, when federal legislation passed that mandated free appropriate education for all children.

"It was a time of great change for children with disabilities," Zweiback said. "Barb was at the dawn of that change, and the experience of being a pioneer and building something new is a repeating theme in her work."

Dr. Jackson's career also included:

  • Her role in 1998 in initiating a pilot program to provide developmental screenings and follow-up for children at-risk for developmental delays, which became the Developmental TIPS (Tracking Infant Progress Statewide) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) follow-up program, impacting nearly 28,000 children in Nebraska since its inception;
  • Her nearly 25 years as lead project evaluator for the Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, which implements statewide prevention programs that serve at risk young children, youth and families;
  • Her long career at MMI, where her work impacted countless mothers and families as she tripled the size of her department over the past decade;
  • Her work as a national consultant and expert with the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center, which supports states in their early childhood outcomes accountability process for the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs; and
  • Her dedicated mentorship of other women scholars and community leaders.

"Dr. Jackson is a true champion and an exceptional leader with a keen commitment to women and children," said Mary Baluff of the Douglas County Health Department in a letter supporting Dr. Jackson's nomination. "In all of her endeavors she aligns her work with her core principles and in the process mentors and grows women to their greatest potential. Her kind, calm demeanor creates the opportunity for others to take risks and make change.

"Dr. Jackson has provided this community with strategic leadership which has touched the lives of countless women. Through her direct work with mothers caring for their vulnerable infants in the TIPS program, mothers report their new-found confidence in caring for their child as a result of the realistic and targeted advice provided by Barb."

While all of these accomplishments are notable, they're not what makes Dr. Jackson so special, Zweiback said.

"If you could speak to every person who has ever had the pleasure of working with her or working for her, a consistent theme would emerge: Dr. Jackson is a woman of purpose, integrity and kindness," Zweiback said.

The WCA event celebrating Dr. Jackson and the other honorees will be held Oct. 29 via Zoom. See more information and register.


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Mary Haven
October 21, 2020 at 12:31 PM

Barb, I am so pleased that you received this award. You definitely deserve it. Congratulations.

Emily Ortner
October 19, 2020 at 12:52 PM

Congratulations Barb! Your expertise as a professional evaluator and reality of being a loving mother and caring grandmother blend so effortlessly. The projects outcomes reflect the data gathered but also tell a story of families in our community. Truly a well deserved recognition for you and the compassion you weave into each project. It is sincerely a pleasure to collaborate with you.

Carmen Sirizzotti
October 16, 2020 at 6:01 PM

Congratulations! Awesome work on your part.

Kim Bainbridge
October 16, 2020 at 1:49 PM

Congratulations Barb. Thank you for everything you have done for the Disability Community. Well deserved!!

Regina Idoate
October 16, 2020 at 8:43 AM

We love you Barb!

Jen Bredehoft
October 16, 2020 at 8:42 AM

Thank you for your contributions!!

Nikki Carritt
October 16, 2020 at 8:27 AM

Congratulations, Barb! A well-deserved honor.

Carol Russell
October 16, 2020 at 8:18 AM

Barb, Kudos to you and all you have done for children and the community. Well deserved recognition!! Carol Russell

Christy Williams
October 16, 2020 at 8:04 AM

Congratulations Barb! Well deserved!!!

Carol Gaebler
October 16, 2020 at 7:24 AM

Congratulations, Barb, on this well deserved honor! We are so fortunate to have you as a collaborator at MMI!

Laura Bilek
October 16, 2020 at 6:33 AM

Dr. Jackson is so deserving of this award. She is not only a leader in the community, but on campus as well. She has mentored and supported numerous UNMC faculty and staff. Thank you for being a role to me and many other UNMC women, Barb.