John Paul Jones III is Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) at the University of Arizona and Professor of Geography and Development. SBS is known as the UA’s “People College” in recognition of the 500 faculty and 6500 students who study human histories, institutions, ideas, inventions, cultures, literatures, and social relationships. The college’s strategic priorities are in health, environment, technology, and global impact and regional roots.
Jones believes that public, land-grant institutions such as the UA have a responsibility to share their discoveries and expertise with their communities through education and outreach. To that end, he initiated the Downtown Lecture Series at the Fox Tucson Theatre, and he has supported new student engagement initiatives, such as the Poverty in Tucson Project in the School of Sociology and the Community & School Garden Program in the School of Geography and Development. He has helped establish several interdisciplinary degrees focused on better preparing students to serve the near and far communities in which they will live. Among these are American Indian Studies; Care, Health and Society; Criminal Justice Studies; Development Practice; Environmental Studies; Human Rights Practice; and Public Policy. He has promoted new SBS outreach centers, such as the Center for Border and Global Journalism; the Center for Compassion Studies; the Center for Regional Food Studies; the National Institute for Civil Discourse; and the Southwest Folklife Alliance.
Jones’ research is on geographic methodology and the integration of spatial theory and social theory. He has authored more than 100 articles and book chapters and received numerous research grants from the National Science Foundation. In 2015 he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from his national professional organization, the American Association of Geographers.