SBS Dean JP Jones Announces Plan to Step Down

Oct. 12, 2021
JP Jones

John Paul Jones III, Don Bennett Moon Dean in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, recently announced that he will be returning to the faculty at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2022 after having served as dean for 12 years.

“I am grateful – indeed, it has been an honor – to be a leader, colleague, and a learner alongside so many remarkable faculty, staff, supporters, and students,” Jones said.

A prominent geographer, Jones will return to the School of Geography, Development & Environment.

“I am looking forward to returning to teaching students, mentoring graduate students, and diving back into my research,” Jones said.

During his time as dean, Jones had many notable accomplishments, which are highlighted in the statement from Provost Liesl Folks.

Message from the Provost

Since his appointment in January 2010, JP has overseen a number of transformative changes in the college’s academic portfolio, including the introduction of 18 new bachelor’s degrees, 12 new master’s degrees, and 2 new doctoral degrees. New academic units were added, and others greatly expanded. SBS’s growth has made it the top college at the university in terms of total degrees granted – with 30% more degrees awarded in AY2020 than the next largest college. SBS’s energetic embrace of Arizona Online, UA Global, and Global Direct has further expanded its academic footprint.

Under JP’s leadership, the 3-year average of SBS’s new sponsored awards increased by 76%, from $9.8 million to $17.2 million. He also oversaw the formation of a number of new centers and institutes, including the Arizona Center for Turkish Studies, the Center for Border and Global Journalism, the Center for Compassion Studies, the Center for Digital Society and Data Studies, the Center for Regional Food Studies, and the Consortium on Gender-Based Violence.

A supporter of Tucson’s downtown revitalization, JP established the college’s popular Downtown Lecture Series (DLS) at the Fox Tucson Theatre, now in its 9th year. The college’s community engagement flourished under his leadership, with investments in SBS’s Community Classroom for lifelong learners; the UA Community & School Garden Program, now serving students and teachers in 70 Title I schools across 3 school districts; the Southwest Folklife Alliance, a UArizona affiliated 501(c)3 that produces Tucson Meet Yourself, one of the largest folk festivals in the country; and partnerships with scores of organizations and governments across southern Arizona.

Finally, SBS’s meaningful relationships with donors has resulted in $120 million in gifts over JP’s tenure, including funds to support graduate and undergraduate students, 8 permanently endowed faculty chairs/professorships, and the endowed deanship.

JP will return, as a professor, to the School of Geography, Development & Environment, where he served as department head upon his 2003 arrival at UArizona. A leading scholar in the study of geographic theory and methodology, he has authored over 100 articles and book chapters, co-edited 7 books, edited his professional association’s flagship journal, and served as co-PI on seven NSF grants. In 2015, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Association of Geographers.

Please join me in warmly thanking Dean Jones for his leadership and service. I look forward to launching a national search for the deanship in the near future, with many opportunities for interested parties to participate in the process.