SCHEV recognizes RU's Jennifer Jones among Virginia's outstanding faculty


SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award winner Jennifer Jones poses with a first grader following a read aloud session at a local elementary school.

Radford University Associate Professor Jennifer Jones is the recipient of a 2015 Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award, given by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV). The award is the Commonwealth's highest honor for educators in Virginia's public and private colleges and universities.

Jones is among 13 recipients named by SCHEV to honor Virginia's extraordinary educators. The award is the first for an RU faculty member since Anthropology Professor Cliff Boyd was honored in 2008.

This year marks the 29th anniversary of the statewide awards program, which honors faculty members for excellence in teaching, research, knowledge integration and public service. Recipients were selected based on accomplishments that strongly reflect the missions of their respective institutions.

"Dr. Jennifer Jones is a remarkable educator who is truly deserving of the SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award," said RU President Penelope W. Kyle. "The award is a testament to her extraordinary commitment to her students and her dedication to education at Radford University and throughout the community and around the world. Dr. Jones' work speaks to the powerful and transformational impact that quality and innovative educators can provide, making the future possible for many who otherwise would not be able to envision a richer, more rewarding life."

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.


SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award winner Jennifer Jones works with school children in Malawi as part of RU’s study abroad program in the African country.

"Dr. Jennifer Jones epitomizes the ideal faculty member with laudatory accomplishments in teaching, service and scholarly contributions," said Pat Shoemaker, dean of the College of Education and Human Development. "Her teaching and scholarship reaches well beyond the boundaries of Radford. Her work in Malawi immerses our students in a world they could not have imagined where they become important contributors to that community. Her collaborative research with colleagues in the schools and at other institutions also strides boundaries, connecting literacy with learning and achievement in science. The college is very thrilled to have her professional accomplishments recognized through this award."

"The Outstanding Faculty Award recognizes excellence in teaching, research and public service. To have the opportunities to teach here at Radford University, as well as the research and service I do in the schools and community, both locally and globally, is the highest honor I can imagine," Jones. "I am humbled to be a recipient of this recognition."

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 has published articles in The Reading Teacher, Reading Research Quarterly and Science and Children, and has co-authored two books, as well as invited chapters for various books. She has served on the board of the Literacy Research Association as Field Council Chair.

Jones has served as president of the Virginia College Reading Educators (VCRE), president of the Virginia State Reading Association (VSRA) and on the board of directors of the Roanoke Valley Reading Association. She has served as editor of Reading in Virginia, Journal of the Virginia State Reading Association and currently serves as editor of Educational Practice & Reform, the online Journal of the College of Education & Human Development at Radford University. 

Jones serves as a co-director of RU's Malawi Study Abroad program, which takes students each summer to the Warm Heart of Africa, Malawi. 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 $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.


SCHEV Outstanding Faculty Award winner Jennifer Jones works with teachers in Malawi during a professional development session focused on literacy.

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 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 tenth 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.

Dec 11, 2014