Starting with the name. In June, the College of Business was named the Norris-Vincent College of Business, thanks to a generous combined gift from ASU alumni Lloyd Norris and Blake and Bryan Vincent.
“This endowment will provide a stream of income that will allow the college to really fulfill its mission,” Jones said. “Our mission is to provide high-quality business programs for our students. These resources will really open the doors for us to do some things that we would not be able to do if we didn’t have them.”
“This will also make it possible for us to increase the level of engagement our students and faculty have with the local business community,” he expounded. “One of the ways that plays itself out is through the entrepreneurship area. We’re strongly interested in entrepreneurship and we are looking to be more actively involved in the entrepreneurship area as we go forward.”
The naming of the college is just the tip of the iceberg. August also saw the establishment of a new endowed chair, the Low Family Chair in Accounting.
“This new endowed chair will allow us to recruit and retain excellent faculty members in business,” Jones said, “and continue to provide high-quality educational experiences for all our business students.”
“When somebody is as generous as all these gentleman are,” he continued, “and they come forward to really establish a legacy for the college, it’s just my honor and privilege to be in a position where I can help make their dream come true, and help make the dream of our alumni, our faculty and our students come true.”
“I feel we’re in a position to make some of these dreams come true. A lot of times, leadership just means don’t get in the way.”
Jones has also had a tremendous impact on the college since he arrived three years ago. He has re-established the Business Advisory Council, increased the number of both undergraduate and graduate students in the college, and made significant improvements to the Rassman Building that houses the college.
“We’re making ourselves more of a student-friendly college,” Jones said. “If you walked through the building three years ago, it was a time capsule from 1983. It was not a comfortable place. Now, it’s more visually appealing – we’ve got soft, comfortable chairs through the building, charging stations, flat-panel monitors. We’re letting our students know that we want them to come here, be comfortable here.”
“I think if you talk to folks from the College of Business,” he added, “if you look at our halls and common areas, you can see that together, we’ve been able to make some differences and changes and improve it.”
The next piece of the puzzle to tackle? Accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the highest possible accreditation for any business school worldwide.
“It can be a lengthy process,” Jones explained. “It took about a year to get together the necessary documentation and reports just to submit our initial application. The entire process could take as long as 7 years. Based on the progress we’ve made thus far, it could be completed within the next two years, best-case scenario. Most, but not all, of the other public institutions you can think of are accredited by AACSB. It’s time for us to join that group. I believe we are of the same quality as those peer institutions.”
As the process moves forward, you can be sure Jones will continue to facilitate and listen to the needs of the faculty, staff and students in his college.
“I feel we’re in a position to make some of these dreams come true,” he said. “A lot of times, leadership just means don’t get in the way. Let the good things happen, and empower your people and give them the opportunity to see those things through.”
“It’s not so much that I had a grand vision or plan as the leader,” Jones continued. “It’s more just getting to know people, looking at the opportunities and looking at these different stakeholders. The best leader is a good listener, and that is what I’ve tried to be.”