AU Press Releases

Jones returns to Alfred University as first woman to head NYS College of Ceramics

Linda E. Jones

Linda E. Jones

Dr. Linda E. Jones, director of the Picker Engineering Program at Smith College since 2005, will return to Alfred University as associate vice president for Statutory Affairs, effective July 1.

As associate vice president for Statutory Affairs, she becomes the first woman to head the New York State College of Ceramics in its 110-year history.

Jones had been a professor of ceramic engineering at Alfred University for 14 years before becoming director of the program at Smith, guiding it to become a nationally ranked engineering program during the six years of her tenure there.

Her appointment by Alfred University President Charles M. Edmondson was subject to confirmation by the State University of New York (SUNY) Board of Trustees, which came today (Tuesday, May 11) at the board’s regular meeting. Because the New York State Legislature funds a portion of the College’s operating budget, Jones will report directly to Edmondson, but also have responsibilities to SUNY and report to SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher.

“All of us are delighted to be able to bring Dr. Jones back to Alfred University,” said Edmondson. “I am confident in her ability to lead the New York State College of Ceramics to even greater national recognition in a partnership between Alfred University and SUNY.

Certainly, her knowledge of Alfred University and SUNY, coupled with the excellent administrative experience she gained in leading the Smith program to national prominence in just six years’ time, bode well for the future of the College of Ceramics.”

”With her stellar academic background in materials science and her past faculty and leadership roles at the College of Ceramics, Dr. Jones has precisely the qualifications we were seeking for this important post,” said Zimpher. “I commend President Edmondson and the (SUNY) Board for seeing this appointment through, and enthusiastically welcome Dr. Jones back.”

“This is the right time for me to return to Alfred,” said Jones, who says she sees the potential of Alfred University, the College of Ceramics and SUNY converging to achieve even greater national acclaim for the School of Art & Design and the materials-based engineering programs in the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering, which are part of the NYS College of Ceramics.

The leadership at both Alfred University and SUNY are in place to achieve even greater things at the College of Ceramics, said Jones. “I think we can embrace the relationship between Alfred University and SUNY in a profound way, allowing ourselves to enjoy the relationship and the opportunity for growth it affords the College of Ceramics. Alfred already has national recognition in art and engineering; this gives us an opportunity to make the programs significantly stronger.”

Ever the materials scientist – she is recognized as a national expert in high-temperature corrosion and degradation of structural ceramic materials, including carbon-carbon composites and carbides – Jones compares what is happening between Alfred University and SUNY to the phenomenon that occurs in superconducting ceramic materials that creates a magnetic field strong enough to levitate a train. “No one can really explain how it works; there are pairs of electrons (a Cooper Pair) moving rapidly through the material. It’s not one, or the other of the electrons that cause the effect, but both working together that make it a superconducting material. It’s not just Alfred University or SUNY that make the College of Ceramics what it is; it takes both of them working together.”

Jones becomes the first woman to head the College of Ceramics in its 110-year history, something she finds fitting since Zimpher is the first woman to lead SUNY in its 60-year history.

The New York State College of Ceramics was founded in 1900 by an act of the State Legislature. When SUNY was created nearly 50 years later, the statutory colleges – there are four at Cornell University in addition to the College of Ceramics at Alfred – continued to be administered by their host institutions with the state reimbursing Alfred and Cornell for services provided.

As the associate vice president for statutory affairs, Jones will be the chief administrative officer for the College of Ceramics, which includes the School of Art & Design and the materials-based programs in the Kazuo Inamori School of Engineering. She will serve as the liaison between Alfred University and SUNY, and have oversight of the budget, facilities, academic planning and research and economic development efforts of the College.

(See SUNY’s announcement of Jones’ confirmation by the SUNY Board of Trustees: )

When Jones went to Smith in 2005, the Picker Engineering Program, which emphasizes engineering courses in a liberal arts setting and is the only engineering program at an all-women’s school, the program had not achieved national ranking. Through her efforts to develop the program academically, and to provide better facilities and equipment for it, the program is now among the top 20 engineering programs ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

Jones received the John F. McMahon Award from Alfred University and delivered the annual McMahon Lecture in 2008; the award is presented annually to a materials scientist who is nationally recognized for advancing knowledge within the field.

She is a Fellow of the American Ceramic Society – Nuclear and Environmental Division, and received the Griffin Lectureship from the American Carbon Society in recognition of her research work with carbon and carbon-composite materials. She also earned the Mrozowski Award from the American Carbon Society for best research paper. Jones was invited to deliver the opening keynote lecture at the International Carbon Societies meeting in 2006, and received an award for excellence in research and scholarship from the State University of New York Research Foundation in 2003.

Jones is equally recognized in the classroom. While at Alfred, Jones received the McMahon Excellence in Teaching Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a faculty member in the School of Engineering’s materials-based programs, and was a repeat winner of the Joseph Kruson Trust Fund Award for Excellence in Teaching several times during her 14 years spent in an AU classroom. She also received a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1999.

She is the author of several publications in her research field, and has more recently become a national spokesperson for the role of women in engineering and on how to improve engineering education.