Jones Named New Director of USM’s Center for Pathway Experiences
Fri, 10/25/2019 - 11:03am | By: Van Arnold
Emphasizing the need to “develop students holistically, so that upon graduation, they are ready,” Paige Jones enthusiastically embraces her new role as Director of Pathway Experiences at The University of Southern Mississippi.
The Center for Pathway Experiences was created in Fall 2016 as a part of the University’s Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), Eagles Engaged: Enhancing Gateway and Pathway Experiences for the reaffirmation for accreditation for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The Center’s mission is to increase the number of undergraduate students participating in internships, field work, research and similar pathway experiences related to their post-graduation goals.
“We want them ready for the workforce or graduate school, and just ready for life in general,” said Jones. “This is what Pathways can help with. We are here to help students find a pathway experience, fund summer experiences with a competitive scholarship, and finish their undergraduate degree with a graduation cord upon completing a written reflection survey of their experience.”
Jones assumes the role previously held by Lisa Stevens. A native of Pass Christian, Miss., Jones earned her undergraduate degree in mass communication and journalism, and her master’s degree in higher education administration (concentration in student affairs) at USM.
She has worked with AmeriCorps in Buffalo, N.Y., as a mentor for a caseload of students in Project S.O.A.R., and with AmeriCorps in New Orleans as the Assistant Communications Director for New Orleans College Prep Schools. In May, 2017, she joined USM’s Office of Career Services as Coordinator for Job Location and Development before moving into the role as the office’s Marketing Specialist.
“Paige Jones is passionate about helping students engage in experiences related to their post-graduation goals. She brings a combination of energy, creativity, and professional experience that will be an asset to our students and the University community,” said Dr. Julie G. Howdeshell, Director, Quality Enhancement at USM. “We are excited to have her in this role and confident that the Center for Pathway Experiences will grow under her leadership.”
Jones notes that one of her immediate goals is to increase the number of students completing reflections of their pathway experiences. Last year, more than 1,000 undergraduates completed reflections and earned graduation cords. Research shows that to make the most of a pathway experience, it is important to stop, reflect, and analyze it. The Pathway Reflection and Evaluation is designed to help guide students through this process.
Any undergraduate student graduating this December who participated in a pathway experience (internship, student teaching, clinical, research, practicum, co-op, etc.) can go to the website – www.usm.edu/pathways -- and fill out a reflection survey to be eligible to receive a graduation cord.
“It’s a great way to let students connect the dots between coursework and real world experience, and it collects important data that we can use to better enhance the student experience here at the University,” said Jones.
Additionally, Jones hopes to incorporate more alumni connections for students. “I believe having that extra support from someone who started on the same path as you will be very beneficial to the students,” she said.
To learn more about the Center for Pathway Experiences, call 601.266.4976 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/pathways