During the 2012 commencement ceremony May 12 in H.S. Kuyper Fieldhouse, Central College President Mark Putnam announced that Keith Jones had been awarded the Mark and Kay De Cook Endowed Chair in Character and Leadership Development. Jones is an associate professor of psychology at Central College.
The chair was established in 2005 to advance and promote teaching, learning, service and research related to the development of character and leadership skills in Central students. It is supported by benefactors Mark ’64 and Kay Kuyper De Cook ’63, both committed to the college’s mission to graduate students of high character.
“Keith’s commitment to the development of character and leadership in students both in and out of the classroom is a true match to the purpose of the chair in developing students for leadership roles in their personal, professional, community and civic lives,” said Putnam during the ceremony.
Jones earned his Ph.D. in life-span developmental psychology from West Virginia University and his bachelors’ in psychology from the University of Northern Iowa. Before joining the Central faculty 2006, Jones taught at the University of Sioux Falls as an associate professor of psychology.
His illustrious career has included time as a research assistant at both his alma maters; a career specialist at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa; and a psychological consultant for the West Virginia Office of the Attorney General, consumer protection and antitrust division. Jones also currently serves as a statistical analysis consultant for data interpretation and analysis.
In 2011, Jones received the David Crichton Memorial Award from Central College in honor of his exemplary teaching and scholarship. He also earned the Outstanding Teacher Award in 2008 and has received two Central College faculty research and development grants.
Throughout his career at Central, Jones has spent time as the department chair for psychology and served on various committees. His list of accomplishments includes many academic presentations and publications in his areas of expertise—often with students as co-authors.
Jones’s work exemplifies an interest in adult development. He is often consumed with the question: “What can we do with students in their four years at Central to help start their development into adulthood?”
Jones said he is grateful to De Cooks, as well as to other faculty members who have come before him, particularly professor emerita of business management Jann Freed, who retired last spring.
“Now it is a matter of coming in and adding to this collaborative painting,” he remarked.