Jones named founding director of Ness School

Courtesy photo: Eluned Jones

BROOKINGS – Eluned Jones has been named the founding director of South Dakota State University’s Ness School of Management and Economics.

Jones came to SDSU in 2012 after working at Texas A&M University and at Virginia Tech.

“The economics department, and now the Ness School, provided a unique opportunity that I couldn’t resist as it uses all of my previous career experiences in the business world as well as in higher education.” Jones said. “Prior to moving to SDSU, I directed collaborative master’s degree programs between the colleges of agriculture and the Pamplin and Mays Business Schools at Virginia Tech and at Texas A&M, respectively. SDSU has the faculties of economics, agricultural economics and the business disciplines in one academic unit, and the land-grant missions of research and extension, which provided the unique opportunity to gain the synergies from their direct interaction.

“This is enhanced in the First Dakota National Bank e-Trading Lab and in the six undergraduate student clubs that have evolved in the past seven years,” she continued. “The changes made build on a long tradition of high-quality programs anchored in applied research and extension programs.”

The Ness School has more than 700 undergraduate students majoring in business economics, entrepreneurial studies and economics for which the degrees are conferred through the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and agribusiness and agricultural economics for which the degrees are conferred through the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences.

“One of our critical goals is to obtain business school accreditation,” said Lynn Sargeant, dean of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. “The Ness School represents a significant step forward in that process. In addition, it increases the visibility of management, economics and business disciplines at SDSU. Dr. Jones has been a true leader in this process. Under her guidance, I am sure that the Ness School will quickly develop a national and even international reputation for excellence in instruction and research.”

In fall 2018, the faculty and students moved to the newly renovated Harding Hall, which offers state-of-the-art instructional and research facilities for students and faculty. The First Dakota National Bank e-Trading Lab provides an innovative learning environment for classes in business finance, investments, agricultural finance, agricultural marketing, business and economics analytics courses as well as supports the Student Managed Investment Fund and POET Commodity Trading Fund experiential activities.

“I have been so impressed with the resilience energy, and commitment of the faculty and look forward to continuing this journey with them; continuing to build excellence in teaching, research and outreach programs that support the management of businesses in South Dakota and the northern high plains as directed in our land-grant mission,” Jones said. “The Ness School faculty is enthusiastic about building synergistic partnerships with our stakeholders and building on our long experience and relationships associated with the agriculture sector.”

Jones holds a B.S. from the University of Bath, United Kingdom, an M.S. from North Carolina State University and a doctorate in agricultural economics from Texas A&M. She previously worked in technology adoption in the textile industry, as a marketing engineer for Texas Instruments, and as director of commodity risk management research for Drexel Burnham and Lambert Inc. in Chicago.

Jones was a professor of agricultural economics at Texas A&M from 2002-12 and also served as chair of the Intercollegiate Faculty of Agribusiness and directed the master of agribusiness program, an intercollegiate degree program with the Mays Business School. Jones was a faculty member at Virginia Tech from 1988-02 with responsibilities in extension, research and teaching, and initiated and coordinated the M.S. agribusiness program with the Pamplin School of Business. Jones has served on numerous national industry advisory councils and committees including the industry advisory committee for the Federal Grain Inspection and Packers Administration and is a fellow of the Kellogg-funded Leadership Development Program at the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy.

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