A 20-year wildlife and fisheries teaching and research veteran at Mississippi State is being recognized by two nationally prominent education-support organizations.
Associate professor Jeanne C. Jones is receiving the 2004 Mississippi CASE Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
Created in 1981, the Professors of the Year Program is the only such initiative specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. Jones is among 46 winners selected from a total of nearly 300 nominations submitted from institutions around the country.
"For Dr. Jones and our other award-winning state professors of the year, teaching is not a job; it is a calling,” said CASE president John Lippincott. "They are as dedicated to their students as they are to their disciplines and are exceptional in their ability to engage students in the learning process.”
CASE is based in Washington, D.C.; the Carnegie Foundation, in Menlo Park, Calif. Representing nearly 2,900 colleges, universities and independent elementary and secondary schools, CASE is the largest international association of educational institutions. Carnegie is the world's only advanced study center for teachers and the nation's third-oldest foundation.
Jones is the fifth MSU professor to receive the honor over the past decade. Mathematician Michael Neumann was selected in 2001; English professor Nancy Hargrove in 2000; art professor Paul Grootkerk in 1998; and communication professor Hank Flick in 1995.
Jones earlier received several MSU teaching awards, including three from her department and two from the College of Forest Resources. She also was selected for a merit award for outstanding teaching from Gamma Sigma Delta agriculture honor society.
She holds a bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Southern Mississippi and master's and doctoral degrees in wildlife ecology from MSU.
In addition to academic degrees, she completed training in scientific illustration and photography at the University of Arizona and has earned recognition as an artist. Recently, she wrote a wildlife-oriented children's book titled "A Possum's Got to Do What a Possum's Got to Do.”
"Dr. Jones is an extremely productive faculty member, teaching three courses and advising 20 undergraduate students and six graduate students,” said Rick Kaminski, a department colleague who made the nomination. "In addition, she serves on more than 20 graduate student committees in the departments of wildlife and fisheries, forestry and biological sciences.”
In addition to departmental duties, Jones regularly conducts project reviews for landscape architecture majors who are integrating wildlife into their projects, Kaminski added.
Much of Jones' funded research has involved balancing ecosystem management and effective military training operations. Ecosystems management plans take a complete look at the soil, water, forest, and wildlife habitat resources on the installations to ensure that natural resources and military training coexist and complement each other.
Since 1987, she and a team of graduate students have worked to prepare and put into use long-range ecosystem management plans at posts ranging from Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg to Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala.
"Since 1998, nearly 30 undergraduate students have gained valuable research and management experience while working with her graduate students on a variety of funded research projects,” Kaminski said. "Many of them have earned graduate positions, partly because of their research experience gained in association with Dr. Jones' projects.”