Jacobs Named ATU-Ozark Campus Chancellor

Dr. Sheila Jacobs
Dr. Sheila R. Jacobs

Dr. Sheila R. Jacobs is the next chancellor at Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus.

Her appointment was announced on Wednesday, April 24, by Dr. Russell Jones, ATU interim president.

“Dr. Jacobs has an investment in and knowledge of Arkansas Tech University that is rare and special,” said Jones. “Dating back to her involvement in the leadership programs implemented by Jimmy Ferguson during her time as an undergraduate student at Arkansas Tech and continuing through her most recent service as ATU-Ozark interim chancellor, she has distinguished herself as a lifelong leader.”

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.

Shortly after her 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 took office as chief academic officer at ATU-Ozark Campus in 2019 and was named interim chancellor as of July 1, 2023.

Along the way, she obtained two master’s degrees in education and the Educational Specialist degree from Arkansas Tech before completing her terminal degree, the ATU Doctor of Education in school leadership, in 2020.

Jacobs was named the 2021 Jim Ed McGee Award winner as the most outstanding graduate student at ATU and she is a graduate of Leadership Tech.

She succeeds Bruce Sikes, who retired June 30, 2023, after 10 years as ATU-Ozark chancellor, 16 years in senior leadership at ATU-Ozark and 37 years in education.

“Being named chancellor of ATU-Ozark Campus is an absolute honor,” said Jacobs. “The professionals of ATU-Ozark are committed to advancing excellence in workforce education, which is a cornerstone of the Ozark campus. Our dedication to forging and sustaining strong partnerships with K-12 districts and industry and community leaders reflects our unwavering commitment to the workforce and economic development of our region and state. Above all, our students remain at the heart of our mission. We are steadfast in our commitment to providing them with a quality, caring education that equips them for success in and beyond the classroom.”

As ATU-Ozark chief academic officer, 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.

“Dr. Jacobs is a passionate advocate for workforce development and career coaching, which are and will continue to be essential elements in fulfilling the mission of ATU-Ozark,” said Jones. “We look forward to her leadership of our dynamic campus in Ozark and the important contributions that she, her colleagues and ATU-Ozark graduates will continue to make to economic development in our region and our state.”

Jacobs led the formation of the Ozark area 360 Educators and Industry Partnership, has been chosen to serve on the LEARNS Act committee for the State of Arkansas, is a member of the Higher Learning Commission Reassurance Committee, served on the ATU 2025 strategic planning committee, is a member of the Leadership Tech coordinating council and introduced the ATU-Ozark Leaders in the Industry speaker series.

With the interim tag removed from her title, Jacobs becomes 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 Sikes (2013-23).

“I extend my sincere gratitude to the incredible faculty, staff and administration at ATU-Ozark for their unwavering support and dedication,” said Jacobs. “Together, we will continue to empower our students to reach their fullest potential. I would also like to express my heartfelt appreciation to ATU Interim President Dr. Russell Jones for his guidance and leadership. With his continued support, we will continue advancing excellence and innovation in education.”

Learn more about ATU-Ozark Campus at www.atu.edu/ozark.