From facilitating the multicultural program’s Black Student Union and organizing events such a History Speaks, to working as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, Gary Jones has always played a prominent role at Oklahoma Christian University. This year, he will continue to fulfill this mission as assistant dean of students.
While this promotion will require different tasks than his previous job as the multicultural and service learning coordinator, Jones said he is excited to serve the students through his new role on campus.
Q: What responsibilities will you have as the assistant dean of students?
“I will continue to lead our diversity programming, but in addition, I will deal with matters of discipline and with some other areas as assigned. I will assist Neil Arter with a lot of things in the office. We haven’t had an assistant dean in a couple of years, so we’re kind of getting back on track with that. I will be the primary guy for disciplinary issues, in addition to some other things on Neil’s plate.”
Q: How is this position different from your previous position as the multicultural and service learning coordinator?
“It’s different in the sense that the people come across now, we are meeting under different circumstances. I really want to be proactive in being out amongst the student body and being involved in other activities. So, when a student does have to see me for disciplinary reasons, it’s not the first time we’ve met—I can personally know a little bit about the student’s situation.”
Q: Will facilitating the diversity program look any different than it has in the past?
“I’m going to rely more on student leaders. I have some advisors that will be issued in regards to programming and some of the other things that I was involved with, but I’ll still do most of that. I have to be a little more organized and structured. My calendar is fuller than it once was, but that’s okay. It’s a good thing.”
Q: Do you see Oklahoma Christian hiring another person to work for the diversity program?
“In a perfect world, we would structure the student life office in a way that we could hire someone to help with those efforts and report back to me. I don’t know if we’ll be structured like we are now forever. That’s one of the things that I really made sure I had a pretty good understanding of before accepting this role—that there would be a shot at getting somebody else on board to kind of help with that and report back to me.”
Q: What are you most excited about with your new position?
“I’m excited about the freshness. It’s something different. I don’t want to say that what I was doing was becoming mundane, but to have a new challenge is always fun. But, I use that term very loosely. There are definitely challenges with it. It’s also rewarding to be able to impact a larger number of students in a different way. I’m excited about doing the job differently.
I think I will really help to shift the culture of the campus and change behavior. When behavior changes, there’s less deviance that you’re going to have to deal with. I’ll be spending more time in the dorms and at activities, hopefully developing relationships with students where it’s not even so much about ‘if I’m going to break a rule at Oklahoma Christian’, but more so about the fact that ‘Gary’s a decent guy and I don’t want to let him down.’”