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Monday, April 8, 2013


Business College's Meg Jones a Popular Choice for Inaugural Monarch Professional Award

Meg Jones, graduate program manager for the Department of Urban Studies and Public Administration (USPA) and undergraduate coordinator for the minor in public service, was honored recently as the first recipient of the Monarch Professional Award, a prize established by the Association of University Administrators.

Trey Mayo, AUA president-elect, and fellow board members made the surprise announcement on March 27.

The numerous letters of support sent to the selection committee - from colleagues both within and outside Jones' department in the College of Business and Public Administration - attest to the popularity of her nomination for the inaugural award.

The list of adjectives nominators used to describe Jones and the duties she performs is a lengthy one. A sampling: enthusiastic, committed, bright, talented, self-motivated, perceptive, proactive, creative, dependable, positive, compassionate, professional, dedicated, organized and diligent.

Those writing in support of her nomination frequently referred to Jones as a problem solver and the "go to" person in the department.

John Morris, professor and graduate program director of the Ph.D. program in USPA, who nominated Jones for the AUA award, called her "the consummate problem solver." He cited numerous examples of her contributions to the department, including her active participation four years ago in the planning and development of a new undergraduate minor in public service, to the teaching of one of the core courses during the first year, and on to fall 2012, when she assumed the duties as the departmental coordinator for the minor.

Morris also lauded Jones' role in the department's planning three years ago of ODU's first Public Service Week: "Meg worked tirelessly on the project, assuming a leadership role in several of the events, and contributing significantly to many others. When deadlines were looming and it seemed as though no one had time to devote to the project, Meg would step forward and inspire and motivate others to press forward. Largely due to Meg's organization and planning expertise, Public Service Week proved wildly successful."

Morris added that perhaps Jones' greatest contribution to the department, however, is felt in the Master of Public Administration program. "As our current M.P.A. director has gradually prepared to relinquish that role prior to retirement, Meg has assumed many of the duties previously covered by the M.P.A. director. Meg's duties now include advising, course scheduling, program marketing, alumni relations and reporting. She has assumed these new duties without compensation or promotion, and her willingness to undertake these tasks contributes measurably to the success of the program."

Katrina Miller-Stevens, a third-year assistant professor in the USPA department, said the department would fall apart without her.

"Meg is a respected leader in the department. She plays a significant role in the decision-making processes of the department by facilitating discussions, providing essential information and networking with other departments in the community," Miller-Stevens wrote in support of Jones' nomination.

"When faculty have a question related to anything department-related, they go to Meg. When students have a question related to a program or the university, they go to Meg. When any problems need to be solved, Meg is there to help. When new projects start up, Meg is there to offer guidance. When there is an emergency of any kind, Meg is the go-to person and problem solver. In short, Meg is our backbone."

Miller-Stevens also noted that Jones' knowledge and assistance were critical in helping her navigate her way as a new faculty member "through a complex university environment."

The following are other selected comments excerpted from letters written in support of Jones' nomination:

"Over the years, I have worked with Meg on approximately 10 alumni-related programs that reinforce the mission of the Alumni Association. We meet regularly throughout the year to discuss ideas and she has proven to be one of the strongest academic-area partners throughout my five years in this position."

- Dan Campbell, director of constituent relations, Office of Alumni Relations

"Without fail, Meg has always been able to answer any questions that I have or to provide any assistance that I need. She is compassionate, professional and patient, and I am truly impressed by her tireless dedication to the department, faculty and students. She has a kind word for all, and approaches her work with a can-do attitude that is admirable."

- Amy McDowell, adjunct instructor, USPA

"Ms. Jones has demonstrated a remarkable talent for shepherding our students through the maze of university administrative rules and procedures to graduate. I attribute her success in this visible and important function in part to her ability to connect with a very diverse student body made up of recent graduates as well as very seasoned working professionals and her ability to network with key university and college personnel. Her networks have been a tremendous source of knowledge and expertise that has improved our efficiency and effectiveness."

- John Lombard, chair, USPA

"I have known Megan for two years and her dedication to the department and professionalism have continued to amaze me. I am the president of a student organization named PAUPers (Public Administration and Urban Policy) and I have consulted with Megan on a number of issues and she has always made time to share her knowledge with me. I have a great relationship with my cohorts in the program and they have told me countless stories of how Megan has assisted them in some manner. If anyone deserves this award, it is Megan Jones. She is committed to the department, which is evident in her strong work ethic."

- Tiffany Henley, doctoral student, USPA

Jones, who graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in political science, earned a master's in public administration from ODU in 2005. She previously worked in the ODU Office of Admissions for two years. During that time she served both as an undergraduate and transfer student counselor. Jones joined the CBPA as a faculty administrator in 2007.

The Monarch Professional Award was created to recognize mid‐level administrators and professionals with a developing body of work at the university who demonstrate exceptional performance in their position. The developing body of work should support at least one of the following categories: service, effectiveness or professional accomplishment.

John Morris, Meg Jones and Katrina Miller-Stevens. Photos by Trey Mayo

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