Jayne Jones now works out of an office in the advising center suite on the first floor of Rothwell Hall. The construction of Rothwell in 2010 was one of many changes that Jones has seen during her 41-year career at Tech.
Until October of last year, Jones was the Vice President for Development at Tech. It was a role that came about naturally as a result of her past positions, having worked her way up from her first role as an assistant in the news bureau (the department of university relations predecessor) to associate vice president of administration and finance. Then-president Brown asked her to step into the role of vice president in 2001, joining the executive council as the first vice president of development in university history.
She led the development department for 14 years, leading fundraising efforts and supervising around 15 staffers.
Conversations about the need for several projects to be completed led to Jones changing roles. She now oversees several university initiatives for the President’s Office as the university’s coordinator of special projects.
“I don’t know that I would say I expected it, but I embraced it because Arkansas Tech is everything and in my opinion, whatever I can do to help benefit further Arkansas Tech and her students, that’s what I’m all about,” Jones said.
She quickly shifted gears and got to work bettering the Arkansas Tech campus—just like she has done every day for the past four decades.
The current administration would be hard pressed to find a more suitable candidate for the role, as Jones has worked in or had oversight over most non-academic departments on campus.
She’s been a vice president’s assistant, student accounts director, university business manager and, as previously mentioned, associate vice president for administration and finance. All three of her degrees—an associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s—were earned from Tech while she worked full-time.
As for projects, she oversaw the $4 million Return to Glory campaign in the late 2000’s, the first capital campaign the university had ever seen, among other high-profile, high-stakes fundraising projects.
Now she’s putting those experiences to work on an array of special projects, while continuing as a vital connection for the university with donors that she developed relationships with while at the helm of the development department.
She is on the Russellville Chamber of Commerce committee that spearheaded the Paint the Town Green and Gold campaign, which saw several dozen local businesses decorate their buildings in support of Arkansas Tech before the first football game of the year. That’s part of what Jones calls working to “blur the lines” between where the Tech campus ends and the rest of Russellville begins.
Another large part of her role is helping to start the Arkansas Intercollegiate Consortium, a group of four-year and two-year colleges, both public and private, that aren’t affiliated with any university system. The founding members hope to find ways to save money and advance mutual interests in the state.
Examples of possible partnerships include purchasing in bulk for cost savings, potential staff development collaborations, exchanging online classes between institutions and being able to negotiate with increased leverage when finding insurance and benefits providers.
What will become of the Arkansas Intercollegiate Consortium is yet unknown. In fact, many aspects of the position are still developing, that’s what happens when you’re the first. Developing is something that takes time, but Jones seems to have a knack for it.