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Shirley Jones (1931 - )

Pioneering Contributions: Shirley J. Jones was the first Black academic dean appointed to the public university system in Mississippi, serving from 1978 to 1989 at the University of Southern Mississippi School of Social Work.  She received congressional appointment to the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health 1988 to 1991. She advocated for rural communities during her appointment to the Advisory Board on Minorities of the US Census Bureau in 1980 and 1990. She received special recognition for her suggestions, which were incorporated in the planning and implementation of the 2000 census. Jones undertook research on housing policy in Nigeria and Ghana (1974-77), while serving as a consultant to the United Nations Housing Department of Planning and Building. Jones has designed and directs a unique program called the U.S.-African Partnership for Building Stronger Communities, where she has brought her research findings to Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal.


Career Highlights: Jones is Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Social Welfare at the University of Albany/SUNY.  She has taught, conducted research and written about social work, specializing in the fields of education and social welfare.   She also focuses on issues of rural development and rural communities and has been a grant reviewer, consultant, or expert panelist for a number of organizations, including National Head Start in Washington, DC; Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi; the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC and Atlanta, Georgia; and the UN’s Housing, Planning and Building Center; and the University Research Corporation in Washington, DC. Prior to her academic career Jones was employed at Mobilization for Youth,  Crusade for Opportunity in Syracuse, NY, and  the Office of Economic Opportunity, NE Regional Office.


Biographic Data


 Jones received her DSW from Columbia University in 1977 and her MSW from New York University in 1964.  She received her MA(1956) and B.S.(1954) from New York University in the field of education.


Significant Achievements and Awards


Shirley Jones received a Governor’s Award from Lagos State in Nigeria and a plaque from Lagos State University in Nigeria.  She was the 2002 recipient of the NAACP Award for Community Service (Sisters in the Struggle), and a recipient of NAACP's Award for Publication.


While at the University of Albany/SUNY, Jones was awarded a Collins Fellow Award for her university service; an Association of Minority Affairs award in recognition of service; and an Award for Service from the City of Albany.  She also received the Martin Luther King Award in recognition of distinguished service from the Office of Multi-cultural Student Affairs at SUNY Albany.


Jones was the recipient of the 1991 Outstanding Leadership in Advancing Public Support for the 1990 census and an award for distinguished service to the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health at the Department of Health and Human Services.  In 1991 she received the Ruth Hoeflin Forum Scholar Award for work on rural families, University of Kansas. She received the 1988 National Association of Black Social Workers Distinguished Social Worker of the Year award and was a 1993 recipient for her distinguished service to the Governor’s Office of Voluntary Citizen Participation in Jackson, Mississippi.


Shirley Jones is listed in the 1981 edition of Who’s Who Among Black Americans.


Selected Publications:


Jones, S.J. & Zlotnik, Levy, J. (eds.) (1998). Preparing Helping Professionals to Meet

Community Needs: Generalizing From the Rural Experience. Council on Social Work Education:Alexandria, Virginia.


Jones, S.J. (Ed.) (1993), Sociocultural Service Issues Related to Rural Families. Rockefeller College Press: Albany, New York.





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