NIU welcomes new leader for honors program

By Jennifer Irocky

Last week Northern Star staff conducted a Q&A with Christopher Jones about his new position as Associate Vice Provost for University Honors.

Northern Star: How does it feel to have the position?

Christopher Jones: I am very excited. The opportunity to work with talented students and dedicated University Honors faculty and staff were major considerations along with the program’s tremendous potential moving forward. I am committed to growing and strengthening this student-centered program.

NS: What plans do you have for the University Honors Program?

CJ: I will be working with the vice provost and the university honors committee, and chatting with students to develop a clear agenda for the program moving forward.

NS: Where did you go to school?

CJ: I completed my undergraduate education at Binghamton University. I earned my doctorate at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University. I am a political scientist. My specialization is U.S. foreign policy and national security policy.

NS: What were you previous jobs?

CJ: I taught as a graduate student at Syracuse University, spent two years as a visiting faculty member at Whittier College and I have been at NIU for the last 15 years. I was chair of the Department of Political Science for five years. I also served as assistant chair and director of undergraduate studies in the Political Science Department.

NS: Were you an honors student?

CJ: I graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with College-wide Honors, but my undergraduate alma matter did not have a formal university honors program at the time like NIU presently does.

NS: Any advice to students?

CJ: I believe college should be a transformational experience. Thus I would encourage students to move out of their comfort zones. It’s good to have academic majors and future educational and professional plans, but it is also important to be a well-rounded individual and be exposed to new ideas, people, and experiences. College is a great opportunity to develop the “whole person.”

I hope students will enroll in courses, participate in campus events, and get to know individuals that at first glance may be less familiar… and even a little uncomfortable with at first. Many times the benefits of these connections can be immensurable over time.

NIU’s University Honors Program provides numerous opportunities for students looking for a transformational college experience.