Dr. Crosby Jones: Award-Winning Advisor
November 21, 2011
In 2011, Jones celebrated his 32nd year as faculty advisor for the ASU chapter of the Beta Beta Beta (Tri-Beta) biology national honor society. Under his guidance, the ASU group has blossomed from a small bunch of pre-med students into the most decorated chapter in the U.S. Tri-Beta members, in turn, have also benefitted Jones.
“Every year I have a new group of 21-year-olds that change a little from the previous year,” Jones said. “We have gone through it all together, from the computer-age things to text messaging, and I learn from them every year what is going on out there. I learn how they think and how they relate to people in the classroom, the kind of teachers they like and what kind of things they don’t like.”
“They talk to me about all types of things,” he added, “including what motivates them in the classroom. So, I use that to help me plan for the next year. I am constantly changing the way I bring up information in the classroom, and I think it makes me a better teacher.”
As a result of his enhanced teaching abilities, mentorship of student research and promotion of school spirit, Jones was honored with the inaugural Gary and Pat Rodgers Distinguished Faculty Award in 2011.
Jones’ affiliation with Tri-Beta began in 1979, shortly after his arrival on campus. When he was approached by the Tri-Betas about being their faculty advisor, he agreed, but with some conditions.
Under Jones’ guidance, the ASU Tri-Beta chapter has been named top chapter in the nation a record seven times.
“I told them that if I was going to be the advisor, they would have to encourage all the students in the Biology Department to get involved because the department was not big enough to be split into separate groups,” Jones said. “They agreed to do that because it was actually what they wanted.”
“They also were really not doing much research,” he added. “So, I knew if we were going to have a strong chapter, that was one of the first things we were going to have to start emphasizing. The students were agreeable, the faculty supported it and the faculty still support that.”
With Jones guiding the way, the ASU chapter has won the Lloyd Bertholf Award for having the top chapter out of more than 560 in the U.S. and Puerto Rico a record seven times from the national Tri-Beta office. No other chapter has won the award more than four times. ASU Tri-Beta students also regularly win research presentation awards at regional and national conferences.
Through all the building years, the one constant in the ASU Tri-Beta chapter has been Jones. In fact, he has never missed a chapter meeting in his 32 years as advisor.
“I just think that if you are going to be an advisor, that is what you should do,” Jones said. “So, I attend all of our business meetings.”
That conscientious attitude has worked out well for Jones, who has also received two “Rammy” awards for Professor of the Year in the College of Sciences from the ASU Student Government Association to go along with two “Rammy” awards for Adviser of the Year. He has also received a Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award from the ASU Alumni Association, the first-ever Yokley Award from the national Tri-Beta board for Adviser of the Year and the 2008 Yokley Faculty Leadership Award.
Those awards also validate Jones’ reason for choosing ASU in the first place. He wanted to concentrate primarily on teaching and interacting with students.
“The university has always given me the freedom to teach the way I think it should be done,” Jones said. “I also got involved with Tri-Beta the first year I was here and, ever since, that has really been a motivation for me, too. I don’t think I would be as good at teaching as I want to be without the year-to-year contact with the students in Tri-Beta.”
“I was going to stop advising at 25 years,” he added. “But, then we had a group come through that was one of the best ones we have ever had. So, I couldn’t give up then, and I’m still here.”