Faculty Achievements 2011-2012
The Eleven-Year Legacy: Alan Jones
During the 2012 Commencement, Pitzer College President Laura Skandera Trombley recognized retiring Dean of Faculty Alan Jones for his 11 years of service, the longest tenure of a dean in Pitzer's history. Her summary of Jones' contributions to the College read like a roll call of Pitzer's greatest accomplishments over the past decade.
In 11 years, Jones hired 54 percent of Pitzer's tenure-track faculty and created about a dozen new tenure-track positions. During his administration, Pitzer established the 150-acre Firestone Center for Restoration Ecology in Costa Rica and paved the way for the Conservancy for Southern California Sustainability. He oversaw the formation of Pitzer's Vaccine Development Institute, the Institute for Global Local Action and Study, the Ruth and Lee Munroe Center for Social Inquiry, the Intercollegiate Neuroscience Program, the Intercollegiate Media Studies program, the Intercollegiate Environmental Analysis program, the Chicano/a-Latino/a Transnational Studies program, the Pitzer Art Galleries and the Native Summer Pipeline to College project. A Vietnam War veteran himself, Jones helped increase the number of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans enrolled at Pitzer.
As he ushered in these innovative, interdisciplinary programs, he also managed to attend 3,544 standing committee meetings, teach 13 classes and read 2,082 student names at Commencement, hailing more than 40 percent of The College's graduates as they embarked on their post-Pitzer life.
The psychology and neuroscience professor arrived at Pitzer in 1986 and mixed academic and administrative successes throughout his career. He co-founded the Pitzer in Ontario program and was the founding director for the Community Engagement Center, formerly the Center for California Cultural and Social Issues. Devoted to both the classroom and the lab, Jones will return to teaching full time at Pitzer in fall 2013. He is currently conducting research in epigenetics, studying the way environmental factors can alter genetic expression by DNA molecules and influence the course of inheritance.
The achievements outlined in the following pages reflect what Jones calls "the incredibly important work" of Pitzer's faculty. They are also a tribute to Jones' leadership. His retirement as dean became official this summer when he passed the torch to Muriel Poston, Pitzer's 13th dean of faculty, yet the legacy of his 11 years will continue to shape Pitzer for decades to come.