RU's Jones among faculty members recognized by Virginia Governor
Radford University Associate Professor Jennifer Jones was among 13 Virginia educators honored by Gov. Terry McAuliffe Feb. 19 as recipients of the 29th annual Outstanding Faculty Award (OFA) for excellence in teaching, research and public service.
Faculty members from colleges and universities across the Commonwealth were additionally recognized during an awards ceremony at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond as part of the annual OFA program administered by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). Governor McAuliffe served as the keynote speaker.
"Supporting Virginia's excellent system of higher education is a crucial component of my workforce agenda," McAuliffe said. "The outstanding faculty members we honor here today have the ability to show students how their interests can be leveraged into meaningful lives. This is a calling for these educators and we thank them for their efforts with these awards."
Jones teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at RU, which focus on research-based ways to assess, teach and support the teaching of reading in the K-12 academic setting. She has specific interests in literacy assessment and intervention within a response to intervention framework, as well as in the clinical setting, reading comprehension and effective, ongoing professional development.
"Dr. Jennifer Jones is a remarkable educator who is truly deserving of this award," said RU President Penelope W. Kyle. "Her work speaks to the powerful and transformational impact that innovative educators can provide, making the future possible for many who otherwise would not be able to envision a richer, more rewarding life."
President Kyle, who joined Jones’ family at the awards ceremony added, "I know that Jennifer's family is as proud of her as the entire Radford University community is. It was a privilege to join them for this special recognition. It was a day that served as a testament to her extraordinary commitment to her students and her dedication to education at Radford University, throughout the community and around the world."
SCHEV awards are designed to recognize that very dedication in Virginia's higher education faculty members.
"A major goal of SCHEV's recently completed Statewide Strategic Plan for Higher Education is to optimize student success for work and life," SCHEV Director Peter Blake said. "That is exactly what these educators do every day of their professional lives."
The awards are made through a $75,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Dominion Resources. Dominion Virginia Power is a subsidiary of Dominion Resources.
"This marks the 11th year Dominion has partnered with SCHEV to honor the Commonwealth’s outstanding faculty members," said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation. "This is an invaluable opportunity to support those who shape our students in such a positive way and in turn shape the future of Virginia."
Now in her 12th year teaching at RU, Jones is a program area leader for RU's Literacy Education graduate program. The Literacy Education program prepares practicing professionals to serve as literacy leaders in the K-12 setting in the roles of reading specialists, literacy coaches and continued service as classroom teachers.
Jones serves as a co-director of RU's Malawi Study Abroad program, which takes students each summer to the African country. For three to four weeks, students explore the opportunities and challenges of teaching and learning in a developing country.
Jones has been the recipient of the Radford University College of Education and Human Development's Outstanding Teaching Award and the Scholarly Activity Award, as well as the university's Donald N. Dedmon Distinguished Teaching Professor award.
Jones, in collaboration with colleagues from RU and Virginia Tech, has been awarded more than $800,000 in grants, which have been primarily dedicated to the professional development of teachers. Two of the most recent grants have been awarded by SCHEV for a project titled "Integration Station," which focuses on the integration of science and literacy instruction in grades pre-kindergarten through fifth.
A former third- and fourth-grade teacher, Jones earned both her M.Ed. in Reading Education and her Doctor of Education degree in Reading Education from the University of Virginia. She has served as a literacy consultant in various school systems, grades K-12, with a focus on word study as well as comprehension instruction.
"All of my life, I have had the greatest respect and admiration for teachers. I was one of those ‘blessed' individuals who knew I wanted to be a teacher from the earliest of my memories," Jones said. "Teachers, to me, introduced new ways of thinking, ignited my curiosity and made me wonder about the world. Teachers inspired me to learn, to grow and to wonder. The more time I spend in classrooms, the more I respect teachers and what they do and the students they serve. I consider it the utmost honor to be a ‘teacher of teachers' each and every day."
Jones is the 10th RU faculty member to win a SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award. Previous RU winners are: Grace Toney Edwards (English) and Steven Pontius (geography), 1990; Leonor Ulloa (foreign languages and literatures), 1993; Franklin Jones (physical science), 1996; Chester "Skip" Watts (geology), 1998; Robert Whisonant (geology), 2000; Mark Camphouse (music), 2002; Donna Boyd (anthropology), 2006; and Cliff Boyd (anthropology), 2008.