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Know your Professor: Dr. Leslie Jones, assistant professor of biology

Walking into a professor’s office gives a student an impression of the teacher. Walking into Dr. Leslie “Sandy” Jones’ office gives off the perfect vibe for her: fun loving and dedicated to her job.
Currently, Dr. Jones is an assistant professor of Biology and has been part of VSU since 2004. Before she came here, she was a Biology teacher and riding teacher at Grier School in Pennsylvania, a biological research associate for the Department of Dairy and Animal Science at Ohio State, and an assistant professor of Biology at the University of Northern Iowa.
Dr. Jones found her love for teaching through her other passion, horses. “I never planned to be a teacher, but after college, I went over to England and trained as a riding instructor and came back to the states and was hired as both a Science Teacher and a Riding Instructor at a private boarding school,” said Jones.
After teaching at Grier, Dr. Jones went to graduate school to specialize in Horse Reproduction. It was from here that she entered her career as a college professor, which she much preferred to teaching younger students, who she says “are immature and go crazy when puberty fills them with raging hormones.”
After working at the University of Northern Iowa, she was looking for a job in a warmer climate. “I was actually in Hawaii interviewing for a job at UH when VSU called, and, lucky for me, I did not get an offer from Hawaii because this is a much better job for me. I would have been in Education there, but at VSU I am in a science department,” said Dr. Jones.
At VSU, Dr. Jones combines her interests in Biology and education: “Most of my teaching is [of] science content to Education majors, which is what I was trained to do. I especially like to teach the large sections of Biology 1010 for non-majors.” She is currently designing a graduate course on college biology education.
Dr. Jones takes an engaging, colorful approach to her classes: “I work really hard on my visuals which are colorful and have very little text. I think I am really a ham [when] speaking to my classes. I also love writing challenging conceptual tests. The only thing I hate is grading subjective assignments like writing and portfolios.” Nevertheless, she remains professional so that students don’t begin the semester lax. “I wear dark clothes and act very stern initially, but once a class settles in and acts the way I expect them to, I loosen up and become less formal.”
Of course, every teacher holds certain expectations for their students. Dr. Jones’ years of teaching experience in different schools and in different areas seem to have helped her set her priorities on a functional, effective classroom environment. She attempts to instill study skills in her students to make them more self-sufficient and to ensure that they retain course material.
In addition, she runs a tight ship, no matter how much she appreciates the values of a fun and engaging class. “If anyone is rude and disrupts my class,” Dr. Jones says, “I have a series of actions. One, I stop teaching and give them a very direct stare. Two, I let them know verbally that they are making it hard for others to learn. And three, I tell them they can leave. […] I never see students texting, whispering, sleeping, or reading in my classes because they know I will not tolerate it.”
This type of attitude seems like it would leave an impression on students. It certainly does on her colleagues.
“I think Sandy is great as a colleague, as a teacher, as a scientist, and as a friend. She has been very supportive of me here at VSU in many, many ways,” Dr. Steven Thompson, Biology professor, said.
“She has more energy and is completely devoted to helping her students learn more than anyone I know. […] Every one of her students come out of her class knowing the material. […] Not only is she constantly improving her curriculum for her classes, but she is always bringing in new teachers and schools from around the community to learn about biology. […] Honestly, I think Dr. Jones is one of the best professors around,” Mrs. Ashley McGee, Biology professor, said.

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One comment

  1. What a crock! This lady is one of the meanest professors at Valdosta State.

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