CLEMSON – A Clemson University graduate who currently serves as dean of the largest college at West Virginia University will become his alma mater’s chief academic officer, starting Sept. 16.
Robert H. “Bob” Jones, professor of biology and dean of WVU’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, will be Clemson’s first executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, providing leadership for the university’s undergraduate and graduate programs, academic support programs, research and public service activities.
Jones was selected after a national search that drew roughly 400 nominations and applications.
“I am thrilled with the opportunity to work with Clemson University’s amazing students, faculty and staff, and with its energetic new president, Dr. James Clements,” Jones said. “There are many appealing elements of Clemson for me, including its strong sense of community, positive momentum and track record of success in all three of the land-grant missions: learning, discovery and engagement. It’s also the place where I launched my life in academia and met my wife, Jeri. Truly, this is a chance of a lifetime.”
Jones earned his bachelor’s degree in forest management and master’s in forestry from Clemson and his doctorate in forest ecology from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse University. He has previously served as a department head and professor at Virginia Tech and a faculty member at Auburn University.
“Dr. Jones is an accomplished scholar and researcher who understands the land-grant mission and knows Clemson well. He is highly regarded by faculty, staff, students and alumni at West Virginia. During his tenure, the college has seen significant growth in private support, research, increased faculty resources and a strong record in competing for national scholarships and fellowships,” said Clemson President James P. Clements.
“I want to thank professor Jeremy King for his leadership in chairing the search committee, the search committee members and all of the faculty, staff, students and trustees who participated in the process and offered their advice. It was extremely valuable to have the campus fully engaged in this key leadership hire.”
“The EVPAA search committee was duly impressed with Dr. Jones’ calm and inclusive leadership style, his understanding of challenges facing public universities and his varied experience at numerous land-grant institutions,” King said. “His effectiveness as a constructive and positive academic leader was uniformly endorsed by many stakeholders at his previous institutions with whom we spoke.”
Jones has published more than 60 refereed articles and was the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than $4.6 million in externally funded research. At WVU, he serves on the ADVANCE Internal Advisory Board, the Energy Council and co-coordinator of the STEM Education Mountain of Excellence initiative.
As an administrator, he has provided leadership in strategic planning, administrative restructurings, accreditation reviews and development of assessment systems. During his tenure as dean, students and faculty in the college have more than 50 nationally competitive awards, such as Fulbright, Goldwater, Truman and Udall scholarships, National Science Foundation Career Awards and an American Academy of Arts and Sciences membership.
Jones’ wife, Jeryl “Jeri” C. Jones, will also be joining the Clemson family. Jeri earned a Bachelor of Science in Zoology from Clemson, a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. and Board Certification in Veterinary Radiology from Auburn University.
She has worked in private practice and has held faculty positions at Virginia Tech and West Virginia University, where she has conducted research and has taught undergraduate, graduate and professional students.