Dr. Erick C. Jones currently is the Associate Dean of Engineering for Graduate Affairs and holds the George and Elizabeth Pickett Endowed Professor of Industrial, Manufacturing and Systems Engineering. For the last several years, Dr. Jones served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation (NSF) for Engineering Research and Centers (ERC). Prior to that role at NSF, Dr. Jones was a program director in the Division of Graduate Education, where he led the Graduate Research Internship Program (GRIP) and worked with the Graduate Research Fellowship (GRFP) and Education Core Research (ECR) Workforce Programs. Jones joined the faculty at UTA in 2010 after eight years at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where he rose to the rank of associate professor. As a professor, he served as deputy director of UTA’s SAVANT (Security Advances via Nanotechnologies) Center from 2013-15. He is internationally recognized for this pioneering work with RFID technologies, Lean Six Sigma Quality Management, and autonomous inventory control. He has been recently named the Chair of the EngineeringCAS Advisory Board, Senior Fellows and Chair of the Technology Committee for ISCEA in 2017. He has published more than 165 manuscripts and three textbooks, and has garnered more than $9 million in grants and contracts.
Throughout his accomplished career, Dr. Jones has made significant impact in the education of underrepresented students in the STEM field. He has directly advised or served on the committee for 65 STEM graduate students (16 PhDs), of which seven are African American (five PhD and two MS) and one is Hispanic American (MS). He has funded 32 undergraduate research students, of which seven are underrepresented minorities. Dr. Jones has worked on countless projects with goals of increasing the pool of underrepresented STEM researchers. Of particular note, below are descriptions of two projects:
Dr. Jones, recognizing the need to motivate and support undergraduate African American male students to prepare quality applications for research fellowships and graduate school, worked with the Graduate Research Fellowship Program on an outreach program resulting in an increase in both the number of application and successful applications for research fellowships and graduate school.
Dr. Jones’s work at NSF gives him unique opportunities to be involved in the ground-floor development of cutting-edge initiatives and research advances. One initiative based on the NSF’s Big Ideas is INCLUDES. The INCLUDES program seeks to invest in research that supports universities creating a diverse and inclusive workforce across the nation. As a participating program officer during the inaugural years of the program, he was able to support funding of new modern ideas on inclusion and diversity that included backbone organizations, community connections, and leveraged networks that could have a large impact on inclusion and diversity.
Dr. Jones has also served in many organizations that identify and support the needs of minority students. He is an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), having served as NSBE faculty advisor for the past decade; serves as an Alfred P. Sloan Minority PhD Program Director; has worked with the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering for over a decade; and was also one of the initial founders and Past Chair of Texas A&M’s Black Former Students Network. Some recent accolades include Dr. Jones becoming an awardee of the Minority Access National Role Model Award in 2018, and being featured on the cover of the National Action Council on Minorities in Education’s 2015 annual report.
Additionally, he is an Alfred P. Sloan Minority Ph.D. Scholar and a William J. Fulbright Specialist Fellow. He earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University and his master’s and doctoral degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Houston.
Billy Gray is the Department Head and Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering Technology at Tarleton State University. He holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Texas at Arlington, a Master’s degree from Texas Tech University in Systems and Engineering Management and a Bachelor’s degree from Tarleton in Manufacturing Engineering Technology. He has 10 years of work experience in manufacturing, operations, and engineering management.
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