Dr. Barbara Jones has dedicated her twenty-nine years in higher education career to expanding and supporting the mission of community colleges. She was the fourth president of South Arkansas Community College, (SouthArk).
Dr. Jones served as president of SouthArk from 2009-2020, leading the institution to develop, implement, and achieve strategic plans focused on student success and engagement, workforce development, employee professional and leadership development, college culture/environment, and the community. These plans have led to new or enhanced academic programs, institutional and programmatic accreditations, improved student success to include increased retention, graduation, and transfer rates using assessment and data-based decision making. During the ten years at SouthArk, graduation rates have improved and remedial success rates have doubled. External funding has increased leading to more scholarships, partnerships, building projects, programs and equipment, and professional development. The college teams have planned, secured, and administered grants exceeding $24 million. More than $40 million in college facilities construction and improvements, to include building renovations, a health science building, a one-stop student service area, an advanced manufacturing training facility, a plaza and green space, parking areas, and grounds improvements on both east and west campuses have occurred during her tenure.
Dr. Jones has worked collaboratively with area industry, healthcare, governmental, and community leaders to develop credit and non-credit curriculum and training and to secure financial and equipment resources for these programs. As a result, El Dorado was selected twice as recipient of the Arkansas Business City of Distinction Award for Workforce Development.
Nationally, Dr. Jones has served on regional and programmatic accreditation teams. Jones was a board member, officer, and president of the National Network of Health-Career Programs in Two-Year Colleges and served on the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Board of Directors. various AACC commissions, and the ACCT President’s Advisory Council. Jones was Past-Chair of the Board of Presidents and Chancellors of the Arkansas Community Colleges association, and has also served on numerous state and local boards.
Prior to her presidency, Jones served as the dean of instruction at Louisiana Delta Community College in Monroe, LA, a position that she held 2003-2009. She held faculty and administrative positions at Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) in Bossier City, LA, from 1991-2003.
Jones is a 2004 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, earning a doctorate in Administration, Curriculum, and Instruction with a specialization in Educational Leadership and Higher Education. She earned her master’s in health science degree from Louisiana State University Health Science Center in Shreveport, LA and a bachelor’s in medical laboratory science from Northeast Louisiana University in Monroe. She is a registered medical laboratory scientist, and worked in medical facilities for 22 years. She and her husband Rick are the proud parents of Lauren and Andrea and grandparents of 4 beautiful grandchildren.