The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 16, 2003

Minnesota Vice President Final UI Provost Candidate

Click here for high resolution photo.

Robert J. Jones, deputy academic and administrative officer of the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost at the University of Minnesota, will be on campus of the University of Iowa Wednesday and Thursday, Dec. 17 and 18, to interview for the position of provost, the university's chief academic officer.

Jones is the last of six finalists for the position who have been visiting the campus since Dec. 1. Each candidate is participating in two public events, a public forum for taking questions and answers from a faculty panel and a public symposium on the candidate's scholarly activity. Jones' forum will be from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, in W401 PBB. His symposium will be from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18, in W401 PBB.

Faculty, staff, students and others who attend the events involving provost candidates are encouraged to share their evaluations with the provost search committee. An evaluation form prepared by the committee is available on the search website at

Jones earned a bachelor's degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State University in Georgia, a master's degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia and a doctorate from the University of Missouri in crop physiology.

In Jones' current position, his responsibilities include academic, financial and administrative management of programs and processes affecting faculty leadership and development, academic assessment and evaluations, promotion and tenure and community partnerships.

Jones provides administrative oversight to the Office for Student Affairs; Office for Multicultural and Academic Affairs; Office of International Programs; Children, Youth, and Family Consortium; Weisman Art Museum; Center for Urban and Regional Affairs; Center for Transportation Studies; the MacArthur Program and the Office for Business and Community Economic Development. He also assists in the administrative oversight of the university's coordinate campuses.

Jones also is a professor of agronomy and plant genetics and an internationally recognized authority on corn physiology. His research focuses on stabilizing grain yield against environmental stresses such as heat and water. He has been a visiting professor in England, China and Morocco, and has been a featured speaker at noteworthy symposia in the United States, England, Mexico, Africa, Canada and the Czech Republic. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America and has published more than 100 scientific papers, manuscripts and abstracts.

He has been a strong leader for diversity initiatives at the University of Minnesota, in the United States and in the world. He has twice sponsored a national symposium called Keeping Our Faculties: Addressing the Recruitment and Retention of Faculty of Color. And at the height of the contentious battle over apartheid, Jones worked with Archbishop Desmond Tutu for 10 years to provide black South African students with opportunities to attend U.S. colleges and universities, including the University of Minnesota. He also served as an academic and scientific consultant for Tutu's South African Education Program.

The provost is the university's chief academic officer. Reporting directly to the university president, the provost is responsible for the supervision of all academic programs, a variety of faculty-related matters (including academic promotion and tenure decisions and faculty advocacy), student academic affairs, and strategic academic planning. The provost communicates on behalf of the university with the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, the governing board for Iowa's three public universities, and with a variety of internal and external constituencies. The provost is a principal participant in collaborative decision-making involving university-wide strategic planning and budget development, management of auxiliary enterprises, health care services and the conduct of research and scholarship.

STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott, 319-335-0552,