August 1997

J. Arthur Jones

Mathematician

J. Arthur Jones

At an early age, J. Arthur Jones, a native of Greenville, South Carolina, realized that expertise in the field of mathematics was not only a viable resource that could be used in one’s daily life but also a path to boundless opportunities. Throughout grade school, undergraduate and graduate schools, he studied all areas of mathematics and was inspired by the challenges which they brought. Jones uses his skills to help motivate and challenge others to excel in the subject of mathematics. Jones graduated from Greenville’s Sterling High School and continued his education at Lincoln University-Philadelphia, one of the country’s first African-American liberal arts schools. He earned his MA degree in mathematics from Pennsylvania State University (1961) and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the same university in 1965. He is now a Senior Associate for the Quality Education of Minorities (QEM) Network in Washington, DC, where he provides leadership to numerous national efforts to motivate and assist minority students at all academic levels to seek careers in mathematics and engineering. He is also a leader in the QEM Technical Assistance Project, supported by the National Science Foundation. This program assists 19 states (including South Carolina) in formulating statewide action plans to augment their number of minorities earning undergraduate and graduate degrees. Jones’ commitment to infusing more African-Americans into mathematics, science, and engineering did not begin with QEM. Before joining that staff in 1995, he was Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity for the National Research Council, a role which he also had with the Mathematical Sciences Education Board (MSEB) from 1992 to 1994. In 1989 he had been appointed by the President of the National Academy of Sciences as Steering Committee Chairperson for the MSEB project, “Making Mathematics Work for Minorities.” The same year, he founded Futura Technologies, Inc. to support new methods in education via technology. This company skillfully designed mathematical materials for teachers, students, and parents. Jones’ experience in research planning and methodology, program analysis and evaluation, policy analysis, budgeting, mathematical applications, and mathematics and science education spans 30 years, including 14 years of service with the National Science Foundation as a senior program analyst for the Mathematical and Physical Sciences and as head of the Program Analysis Office. This brilliant mathematician is the author of five books in the Math Vision series which stresses hands-on activities for teachers and students. His many papers on “The Mathematics and Science of Basketball” have motivated many young people to learn mathematical and scientific concepts through the sport of basketball. Between 1967 and 1972, he was a professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics at Florida A & M University. He has received many honors and recognitions for his work with children and schools. He is also the founder and director of the School-Home Alliance for Revitalized Education (SHARE), which links cooperative activities between schools and communities to enhance quality education.