Dr. Lee Jones passed away December of 2015, but he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest scholars to have believed in and fought for the advancement of minorities in the higher education. Lee Jones was the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Instruction, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, and Policy Studies at the College of Education, at Florida State University. His research interests ranged from Leadership/Organizational Development to Environmental Cultural issues for the underrepresented and forgotten minority groups in the higher education system. Jones accomplished editing four books and two self-written books; three in which are still used in over 50 universities dispersed among the country. Jones was one of the many African American male higher education scholars who founded and was the visionary behind the Brothers of the Academy Institute and was the President of the institution. The Brothers of the academy Institute was founded to help black men gain positions within the academy and to “foster the collegial networks and relationships among the members.” (Watson 1). Dr. Jones’ focused on being determined and devoted to inspiring and uplifting the African American Community and encouraged young black males to strive for greatness despite all the odds that are up against them.
In the year 2000, Dr. Lee Jones edited one of the most popular books amongst the African American community titled Brothers of the Academy: Up and Coming Black Scholars Earning our way in Higher Education, which continues to be one of the most cited books within the Black community of Higher education scholars. The success of this popular book ignited the hunger and pursuance, specifically in the black community, of attaining a PHD or even the mere hopes of continuing their education past high school. Referenced directly from the book, Jones makes the slightest comment on how it is in a way predestined/controlled for there to be a lack Black men in higher education claiming ,” However to be African in an anti-African society requires that we seize control of all the instruments that determine the lived experience and quality of life of our people ,” (Jones 178) which is the holy grail and epiphany that Jones comes to realizing that the situation is just how the cards were dealt. Lee also talks of how from the start of time, A black male in America had to change their identity to even come close to grasping the chance of higher education. This includes all prior ideologies, changing their views philosophically, culturally, spiritually, and psychologically. Jones claims that Black males are prematurely judged by those apart of the higher education system stating,” Unfortunately, African American males are found to be there more than twice as often as non-Black males, Kunjufu states that many of the classrooms today are battle zones between students and teachers.”( Jones 3) It is not uncommon that teachers make judgements on very mundane criteria, such as family background, the way a student will dress, or even the color of his or her skin. With a system that is set up to fail a black male, it is often one of the main reasons black students are discouraged to put their best foot forward.
In the Journal of Hispanic Higher education, Vol. 1 ,Jones takes on a case study examining the ethnic Minority student experience at predominately white institutions. These students, often from first or second-generation immigrant families who struggle with finances and many a times behind on social and cultural standings amongst society. It is a constant struggle for these students feeling like an outsider or if they don’t belong because they don’t look, talk, or dress the same way. These students strive to achieve the best of the best education to in turn get the saving grace job that they can support his or her family.
A year later Dr. Jones would later partake in The Journal of Men’s Studies, Vol. 12 in which this piece Jones explores the status of Black male Faculty by utilizing data from the national study of post-secondary faculty. Studies show that there has always been a deficit in the ratio of Black male Faculty in the higher education field and there seems to be no efforts or movements toward expanding on the lack of diversity. What seems to be in question is it a matter of those in the hiring positions seem to stray away from this denomination of people or is it discouragement from previous years and years of “keeping the black man down”. Jones takes to conclusion that from prior years of shutting out the African American community from higher education created a lasting effect.
Over the years Lee Jones has voyaged the country visiting high schools, colleges, and universities giving speeches to inspire the youth of America to pursue a higher education quoted infamously in stating ,” Man Cannot and Will Not Destroy God’s Plan for Your Life…No Matter How Hard Some May Try! “ His research interests include Leadership/Organizational Development and Environmental Cultural issues for underrepresented groups in higher education. Dr. Jones presided over many roles within the College of Education, all in which include the Offices of Clinical Partnerships, Academic Services, Learning Resource Center, Curriculum Resource Center, Living Learning Center, and Student Access, Recruitment, and Retention. He was also responsible for undergraduate and graduate academic programs, alumni relations, enrollment management, teacher education, off campus programs, faculty searches, scholarships, fellowships, monitoring the functions of all issues of student progress and new faculty orientation. Dr. Jones also served as the Director for the Division of Multicultural Student Services and was the Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Washington State University for some time.
Dr. Jones Lee was like those who have precedents over him such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, Susan B Anthony, and Rosa Parks. They were all leaders who saw something wrong with the social injustice, lack of care from the nation towards the minorities in America and saw what had to be done to take a stand and make a difference. Jones dedicated his entire life to making higher education more achievable to those who never dreamed of attaining the opportunity before. Jones set in place resources and institutions to ensure the betterment all who strive to achieve the education gospel.
Works Cited :
The Journal of Men’s Studies, Vol. 12; pp.3-13., First published October 1, 2003
Journal of Hispanic Higher education, Vol. 1, pp:19-39. , first published January 1 ,2002
Making it on broken promises: Leading African American male Scholars confront the culture of higher education. Jones,Lee. pg.178
Making it on broken promises: Leading African American male Scholars confront the culture of higher education Jones, lee. pg.3
“Dr. Lee J. Jones – ABC Part III.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Nov. 2010, youtu.be/2wPEFJmS_NY
“Dr. Lee J. Jones – ABC Part II.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Nov. 2010, youtu.be/1il_41dYfcE.
Dr. Lee J. Jones – ABC Part I.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Nov. 2010, youtu.be/mmPgsETZRBE