Dr. Robert H. Jones, head of the Department of Biological Sciences at Virginia Tech, has been named dean of the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University.

“Dr. Jones brings an impressive academic and research record as well as long history of service to the leadership of WVU’s largest college,” Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michele Wheatly said Wednesday in announcing the appointment.

“His background at land-grant institutions, and his commitment to their role in higher education, make him a perfect choice as this University moves forward,” she said.

“The Eberly College has positive momentum and an exciting diversity of opportunities for learning and discovery. I look forward to working with the college’s excellent staff and students. My wife Jeri and I are thrilled to become members of the WVU family,” said Jones, who will also be a tenured professor in biology. He will begin his new assignment August 31.

At Virginia Tech, Jones leads more than 100 faculty and staff members. The department has 90 graduate students and 1,600 undergraduate students who will pursue careers in research, medicine, biotechnology, conservation, and environmental science.

Jones earned a bachelor’s of science degree in forest management in 1979 and a master’s degree in 1981 from Clemson University. In 1986 he received a doctorate in forest ecology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

After post-doctoral work at the University of Georgia’s Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, he joined the School of Forestry at Auburn University. In 1995, he moved to Virginia Tech, becoming department head in 2002.

Jones has continued to advise graduate students and has maintained an active research program in below-ground ecology and forest regeneration, with 61 peer-reviewed publications, supervision for 18 graduate theses and $2.5 million in extramural grant funding since 1989. He has also served on National Science Foundation review panels and on the editorial boards for three journals.

At Virginia Tech, Jones leads efforts to remodel general education programs, enhance first year experiences, and construct new academic buildings. He has taught study abroad, undergraduate, and graduate courses in ecology, and has earned five awards for teaching.

The Eberly College provides 58 percent of all undergraduate instruction at WVU. Enrollment includes 8,287 undergraduate majors and 1,415 graduate students. The college has 356 full-time faculty and 99 classified staff in 30 academic departments, programs and centers in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Annual research expenditures total approximately $11 million, with 127 active principal investigators. A well-established development plan has led to a $40 million endowment that supports 27 distinguished professorships, five chairs and numerous faculty development programs and student scholarships within the college.

Founded in Morgantown in 1867, West Virginia University is a public research university (high research activity as defined by the Carnegie Foundation) and conducts over $152 million worth of sponsored research funding annually. As the primary land-grant institution in West Virginia, teaching, research, and engagement with the state through innovation and technology are at the forefront of its mission.

Dr. Gene Cilento, dean of WVU’s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, led the search committee to replace Mary Ellen Mazey, who was named provost and vice president of academic affairs at Auburn University in 2009. Rudolph Almasy has served as interim dean since Mazey’s departure.

“I want to thank Rudy for his willingness to serve, for a third time, as interim dean,” Wheatly said. “He has been instrumental in keeping this important college functioning during this time and, knowing the school was in good hands, the search committee could take the time it needed to find the right dean for Eberly’s future, which it has in Dr. Jones.”



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