Middle Tennessee State University has named Joyce Heames as new dean of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business following a national search for the next leader of the award-winning college.
Currently dean of the Campbell School of Business at Berry College, a small private liberal arts institution near Rome, Georgia, Heames views the Jones College as well positioned to build on its reputation as a regional leader in business education and a strong pipeline for workforce development in Middle Tennessee.
“The Jennings A. Jones College of Business is poised for so many wonderful things to happen, and it excites me to think about the connections that we can make with a lot of the new businesses coming into the area,” said Heames, a professor of management. “There’s such a growth in Middle Tennessee right now, and I think that that is one of my strengths, to be able to build relationships. I enjoy that.”
Heames, who starts her new role at MTSU on July 1, plans to meet with as many campus stakeholders as possible, ensuring “a healthy balance of both internal and external.” She takes the reins from Dean David Urban, who is returning to a faculty position within the college.
University Provost Mark Byrnes said he’s “excited” that Heames will be joining MTSU’s academic leadership team this summer.
“Dr. Heames has a wealth of experience in both academia and the business world, and she has long service as a dean and associate dean. I am confident that she is just the right person to continue leading the Jones College forward,” Byrnes said. “My sincere thanks to Dean David Urban, who is going to a faculty position in the Department of Marketing after a decade leading the college. I am grateful for his many accomplishments.”
Before coming to Berry College in 2016, Heames was an associate dean of innovation, outreach and engagement at West Virginia University, a large public university with a similar student population to MTSU. Throughout her career, Heames said she’s served in administrative and teaching positions at large and small institutions — University of Mississippi and Samford University before Berry — experience she feels has given her a unique perspective about the academic needs of students.
“Every student wants to feel like they’re part of a private school, that feeling of belonging that’s associated with private schools. Yet we have some amenities and resources that are specific to large schools,” she said. “I understand both of those worlds. I understand what it’s like from a student perspective, but I also understand what it’s like to be in a state system.”
Heames earned her Ph.D. in management from the University of Mississippi and her MBA and bachelor’s in management from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.
MTSU ‘doing some phenomenal things’
As a first-generation college graduate and product of the community college system as a transfer student, Heames said she is thrilled to soon help steer one of top academic colleges at a university like MTSU that caters to those very student populations, often made up significantly of working adult learners.
At Berry, most of its 2,200 students have opportunities to transfer their classroom knowledge to real-world experience at jobs available on the campus stemming from university investment in building facilities for that very purpose, Heames said. It’s a philosophy that easily applies to the Jones College, the top producer business graduates for the Greater Nashville economy.
“Some of the philosophies we have here translate to MTSU because students come first. So creating and developing resources that help students apply their learning is very important to me, and also making and creating relationships so that students can get internships and then jobs when they graduate,” she said. “We have to recognize what the marketplace wants and try to deliver that in a curriculum that’s modern and relevant for students today.”
Heames also pointed to Urban’s incorporation of Dale Carnegie Training as a graduation requirement for Jones College as another example of the college’s strength. She was at one point a Dale Carnegie certified instructor and strongly endorses the benefits of the professional development program that teaches students soft skills.
“They’re just doing some phenomenal things at MTSU and within Jones College,” Heames said. “So to step into a school that’s already doing such wonderful things and is really on the cusp of taking it to a new level excites me.”For more information about Jennings A. Jones College of Business, visit https://www.mtsu.edu/business/.
— Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)
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