Jones and Smith Named to Executive Leadership Institute

June 26, 2012

Jones and Smith Named to Executive Leadership Institute


VALDOSTA -- Two Valdosta State University employees have been named among the newest scholars in the University System of Georgia’s Executive Leadership Institute.

Registrar Stanley Jones and English Department Head Mark Smith recently completed the 100-hour development program, designed to encourage and support leadership development. The two were selected based on their experience, education and leadership potential.

Jones' work history with Valdosta State spans more than 15 years. He began as a student assistant in the registrar’s office in 1996 and has, since, held almost every position in the office. He became interim registrar in 2008 and was selected registrar the following year.

Jones said that he has already begun to use the information and leadership skills obtained through ELI in his everyday job.

“I immediately noticed that I am listening more intently and remembering to meet others where they are,” he said. “The program was very robust. It was a lot more inclusive than I originally thought it would be. There were a number of ‘aha’ moments, but the ones that really stuck with me were the concepts of meeting others where they are, the levels of leadership and the 360 by Design project that involved being evaluated by my boss, peers, direct reports, family members and community members. I learned a great deal about myself and how others see me. You can’t improve until you know how others see you.”

Jones said that he hopes to always be in a position to inspire and motivate students -- particularly underrepresented populations -- to believe in themselves and to reach their goals.

“As Registrar, I meet with a number of students regarding registration or graduation issues. But in most cases, students end up in my office simply because they don’t know where else to go with their problems. I have to admit, it’s a great feeling to know students feel comfortable enough to ask me for help. I always want to be in a position where I can be that person for students.”

Stanley holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master of Public Administration from VSU.

Smith has been with VSU since 1993 and has served as department head, overseeing 43 full-time faculty members, since 2004. Smith described the ELI as “invaluable.”

“The Institute attempts to develop the entire person as opposed to specific personality traits or job skills,” Smith said. “ To that end, the most beneficial takeaways for me involved gaining a heightened self-awareness, learning how accomplished leaders think, having some of my assumptions about leadership challenged while having others affirmed and collaborating with administrators from other universities.”

Smith added that the most helpful discussions included those involving communication, collaboration, listening and self-awareness. He plans to prioritize these facets of the institute in his career.

Smith holds a Ph.D from the University of Louisiana. His research interests include writing pedagogy and visual rhetoric. He has been married to his wife, Renee, for 26 years and they share two children.

For more information about the Executive Leadership Institute, visit .