Associate Provost and Dean of the Faculty
As associate provost and dean of the faculty, Esther Jones provides administrative support for the humanities, social and behavioral sciences, and STEM departments; oversees faculty mentoring and professional development; serves as an ex-officio member to key faculty governance committees; and convenes department chairs’ meetings.
Jones joined Clark in 2009 as a faculty member in the English Department. She holds the E. Franklin Frazier Chair of African American Literature, Theory, and Culture, and served as the inaugural director of Clark’s Africana Studies concentration.
Before Clark, Jones was the inaugural Race and Difference Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow (2008-2009) and visiting assistant professor (2006-2008) in the Emory University departments of Women’s and Gender Studies and English. She holds a doctorate in English (2006) and a Master of Arts in African American and African Studies (2001) from the Ohio State University. In 1998, she graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Music from Fisk University, where she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa society her senior year.
Jones serves the profession extensively outside of Clark in organizations that promote excellence for students both prior to and immediately following their four-year college experience: the Advanced Placement program, organized by Educational Testing Services, and the national organization of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Jones has been a question leader with the Advanced Placement Literature Exam since 2016, leading the assessment of high school students’ performance in college-level literature classes taken during high school. In her role as president of Clark’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, she was elected as a senator at the national organization’s 2015 Triennial Council. She joined the Executive Committee of the national office of the Society in 2018, working with Secretary and CEO Frederick Lawrence and executive officers to provide strategic vision, planning, and direction for the major initiatives of the organization in its mission to serve as an advocate for the liberal arts and sciences.
Jones’ research interests are in the broad field of medical humanities, specifically the field of literature and medicine. In the area of race, medicine, and the humanities, she studies bioethics and has published on the practice and politics of inequity in health care delivery systems, the history of alternative health practices and religion, and structural competency in health care systems as explored through a range of literary genres, including science fiction and mimetic fiction. She is the author of “Medicine and Ethics in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction” (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015), and is the editor-in-chief of a forthcoming major reference work titled “The Palgrave Handbook of Global Critical Health Humanities, Race and Ethnicity” (Springer Nature 2020).