John Jones named vice chancellor for Student Affairs at UNCP


John R. Jones III of DeKalb, Illinois, was named vice chancellor for Student Affairs at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke by a vote of the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Kyle Carter announced today.  He will join UNCP on June 3.

John Jones“I am extremely pleased that Dr. John Jones will be joining the leadership team at UNC Pembroke,” said Chancellor Carter.  “He brings many attributes that will immediately benefit us.  He is strategic and goal oriented. His experience at three major universities will help UNC Pembroke broaden its perspective in all facets of student affairs.” 

A North Carolina native, Jones holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Mathematics from Appalachian State University, and Master of Arts and Ph.D. degrees in Higher Education Administration from The University of Iowa, Iowa City.  Jones also spent 15 years in the Army National Guard, rising to the rank of Major. 

“The committee was very impressed with the size and depth of the applicant pool for this important position,” said Dr. Mark Milewicz, chair of the search committee. “Dr. Jones' experience and expertise made him a stand-out candidate in a very competitive pool of Student Affairs professionals.”

Jones began his career at Purdue University 15 years ago and has worked in progressively more responsible roles in higher education leading to his current position as associate vice president for Student Affairs at Northern Illinois University (NIU).

“UNCP’s mission, vision and core values are consistent with my philosophy as a student affairs professional,” Jones said.  “When I look into the eyes of today’s students, I see myself as a youth growing up in Carrboro, NC.  They have the same aspirations, hope and ambitions that I had as a student.  My life was transformed by education – and not just the education, but also by the people who helped me navigate the academics, the campus and community.  I see that same commitment to the students at UNCP.”

A number of highlights and one very low point have marked Jones’ career path.

  • As chair of the Student Affairs crisis response team at NIU, he was on the front lines when the university suffered a tragic shooting in 2008 in which five students were killed and 21 injured.  Following that event, the university developed an Office of Support Victim Advocacy.  They worked with students and families to help them recover from the wounds they received, both physical and mental, so they could resume a life as close to normal as possible.  “It was so important to me to see these students graduate – to reach their personal goals.”
  • As a member of the Student Threat Assessment Team (STAT) which identifies students who are dealing with a personal threat such as suicide or a threat violence to harm others, Jones developed an integrated threat assessment matrix to assist in mitigating the threating behavior – identifying courses of action to pursue, directing students to programs, on-campus resources or departments that assist them in getting back on track to achieving success.
  • He chaired a task force that changed the campus residential program to Living and Learning Communities, adapting the residential environment to improve academic and social success.

“Dr. Jones is a phenomenal student-centered leader who will serve UNC Pembroke very well,” said Dr. Brian Hemphill, president of West Virginia State University and Jones’ former supervisor.  “He has a passion for higher education and a commitment to insuring that students are able to achieve their ultimate goals.”

“Our students will immediately identify with Dr. Jones because of his North Carolina roots and life history,” Chancellor Carter said.  “Additionally, his military background fits nicely with one of our major strategic initiatives.  We are indeed fortunate to have John join us.” 

At NIU, Jones is responsible for a budget of $10 million and a staff of 40.  At UNCP, he will be a member of the Chancellor’s Cabinet and will manage 12 departments including Counseling and Psychological Services, Career Center, Student Involvement and Leadership, Student Health Services, Housing and Residence Life and Police and Public Safety.

“I’m excited about working with a visionary leader – Chancellor Carter; an A-Team – his Cabinet members who have all had phenomenal successes in their careers; and passionate and talented directors.  Combined with a strategic plan that focuses on student success and becoming ‘an institution of choice’ my decision to come to UNCP was an easy one.”

Jones has published several articles and made presentations at a number of national conferences.  Most recently, he coauthored a chapter in a forthcoming book tentatively titled “Executive Transitions in Student Affairs:  A Guide to Getting Started as the Vice President.”  He has served on the Board of Directors of The Center for Academic Integrity at Duke University and the Association for Student Conduct Administrators.  He is married to Holly Holiday-Jones and has two children, Olivia and John IV.