ATU-Ozark Celebrates New Chancellor at Reception

Dr. Sheila Jacobs 5-29-2024
Dr. Sheila Jacobs speaks at a reception celebrating her appointment as chancellor at Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus.

A career in education is filled with ups and downs…good days and bad days. There are unexpected victories and seemingly insurmountable challenges.

So how has Dr. Sheila Jacobs persisted through it all to become chancellor at Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus?

By making a conscious decision to focus on joy.

“At ATU-Ozark, we are committed to having days of joy,” said Jacobs. “We know why we’re here. We would not be here if we were not serving students and we weren’t serving community. At the end of the day, we are here for each other and to support each other.”

Jacobs was surrounded by colleagues, family and friends as she was celebrated during a reception at the ATU-Ozark Student Services Conference Center on Wednesday, May 29.

After serving as interim chancellor at ATU-Ozark during the 2023-24 academic year, Jacobs’ permanent appointment to the role of chancellor was announced on Wednesday, April 24, by Dr. Russell Jones, ATU interim president.

As ATU-Ozark chief academic officer since 2019, Jacobs provided leadership for accreditation of the registered nursing program and re-accreditation of the collision repair technology, automotive service technology, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration, human services, cardiac sonography and emergency medical technician/paramedic programs at ATU-Ozark.

The campus’ programs in business technology, law enforcement, computer information technology, welding, logistics management and automation have undergone comprehensive reviews during Jacobs’ tenure, and she has brought forth new campus assessment initiatives to support and ensure overall academic quality.

Jacobs has provided leadership for the Ready for Life K-12 career coaching pilot program overseen by ATU-Ozark and serves as principal investigator and supervisor for a career coaching grant through the Arkansas Division of Career and Technical Education.

In collaboration with its partners at Guy-Fenter Education Service Cooperative and Arch Ford Education Service Cooperative, ATU-Ozark will serve 17 school districts and Arkansas Tech Career Center in 2024-25 by utilizing $441,774.50 in grant funds from the State of Arkansas.

“Today is an opportunity for us to celebrate Dr. Jacobs, and at the same time celebrate the Ozark campus,” said Richard Harris, ATU-Ozark chief student officer, during his introduction of Jacobs at the reception. “In the nearly five years I’ve worked with her, I’ve been impressed with both her work ethic and her commitment. She has met every challenge in her career with grace, dignity and most importantly…grit. I look forward to what the future holds for Dr. Jacobs and this campus.”

A first-generation college graduate, Jacobs holds five degrees from Arkansas Tech. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English education and was named the Margaret Young Award winner as ATU’s most outstanding graduating female in 1988. She later won the 2021 Jim Ed McGee Award as ATU’s most outstanding graduate student following the completion of her Doctor of Education degree in school leadership.

Shortly after her first graduation from Arkansas Tech, Jacobs began her career in education as an English teacher at Russellville High School.

She went on to teach English and journalism at Clarksville High School and serve as director of curriculum, federal programs and equity in the Lavaca School District. She returned to the Russellville School District and fulfilled the roles of director of secondary curriculum and instruction as well as high school principal. She also served as an adjunct English and education instructor at ATU’s Russellville campus.

Jacobs is the fourth chancellor of ATU-Ozark since the campus merged with Arkansas Tech University in 2003. Her predecessors are the late Carl Jones (2003-06), Dr. Jo Alice Blondin (2006-13) and Bruce Sikes (2013-23).

“There’s a whole lot of pride at ATU-Ozark,” said Jacobs. “You don’t have to stick around here very long to feel that. There’s something here…we talk about team, we talk about family and all that…but we truly do have each other’s backs. I want you to know how grateful I am to be serving Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus. I am grateful beyond grateful.”