Havre met another of the contenders for the chancellor’s position at Montana State University-Northern Wednesday night, Paul Jones, the current vice president of administration and operations at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, Ga.
Jones has held several positions at Georgia College since 2002, where he has managed diverse facets of the university’s administration, including enrollment, institutional research, academic affairs, business and finance.
Before moving to Georgia, Jones spent eight years as the director of admissions and dean of enrollment management at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, Colo., a school of about 1,700 students with two- and four-year degrees that Jones said reminded him a lot of Northern.
Mesa was also where he began his career in 1986, working in admissions for four years.
In between, he spent one year at Hood College in Frederick, Md., and three at his alma mater, Utah State University in Logan.
The biggest recurring theme in Jones’ answers to community questions was the importance of marketing: of establishing and developing a brand, of going to where people are and telling them Northern’s story.
“I don’t think we (Northern)tell our story as well as we could,” Jones said. “We have to tell our story. Then tell it. Then tell it again. Then tell it again.
“Northern tries telling one story to everyone. We need to tell the appropriate story to each group we seek and focus better. The story now is a little fractured.”
He talked about his experiences throughout his career, from Mesa, where the programs were separated into one four-year institution and another integrated community college, to his current workplace, Georgia College, where they have capped enrollment for undergraduates, turning away 40 percent of applicants, so they can focus on growing their graduate programs.
When asked about how he would handle the relationship with Bozeman, Jones said that it takes work.
“You have to work at any relationship if that relationship is going to succeed,” Jones said. “We need to make it work for us, because it is not going to go away.
“We need to help them see the value of Northern. We see it. We just need to help them see it.”
He told the group that working in a system like this has benefits and costs. Being a part of President Waded Cruzado’s “one MSU family” can help with consolidating certain costs and services that Northern would have to contend with more if alone.
Jones said he is confident that his experience in building relationships between institutions “will help navigate that process.”