The Ohio State University at Mansfield Dean/Director Norman Jones was the keynote speaker at the Mansfield NAACP Freedom Banquet on Saturday, October 27 and took the opportunity to talk about a partnership that could have a big impact for African American students in the Mansfield City School District. Jones announced a new collaboration between Ohio State Mansfield and Mansfield City Schools that creates a pipeline for African American students to earn their Bachelor’s degree with licensure in Education through Ohio State. The plan was created by Mansfield City School District Superintendent Brian Gaverick, who approached Jones about the idea.

“The plan is to identify a cohort of interested students by their junior year at Senior High and then build relationships among that cohort, teachers at Senior High, and professors at Ohio State Mansfield,” said Jones. “Ideally the students will get to take at least one Ohio State course through College Credit Plus during their senior year of high school, and then they will be ready to hit the ground running when they come to Ohio State Mansfield full-time to pursue their Education licensure.”

The theme for the NAACP banquet was “The Price of Freedom.” In addition to talking about the new partnership, Jones talked about how he believes education is a key to opportunity. Jones told the crowd that Ohio State Mansfield knows it has an important role in Richland County and throughout northeast Ohio in providing access to higher education for all people.

“We are proud to report that over the past eight years, we have nearly doubled the diversity of our student body,” said Jones.

Jones also talked about an initiative Ohio State is moving forward with to make college more affordable.

“For students who might otherwise struggle to pay for a college education, we are just beginning a program for low- and moderate-income students at Ohio State Mansfield who are from Ohio, qualify for federal Pell Grants, and have shown they can be successful in college by completing one full-time semester on our campus. The university has committed up to $3 million a year to cover the cost of the tuition and fees for such students,” said Jones. “Come show us for just one semester that you have it takes, and the rest of your college education is free. This is an unprecedented opportunity.”

Jones became dean/director at Ohio State Mansfield in July, 2018. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles and his B.A. from Yale University. He joined the Ohio State Mansfield campus in 2004 as a member of the English Department, teaching courses in 20th- and 21st-century American literature, film, and the Bible. He has published four books and numerous essays exploring the relationship between the Bible and literature, focusing especially on literary representations of marginalized groups. Jones and his wife, Heidi, live in Mansfield with their son, Riley, who is a fourth-grader in the Mansfield City Schools system.

Source: The Ohio State University at Mansfield

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