Jacobs to Lead ATU-Ozark Campus Beginning July 1

Dr. Sheila Jacobs
Dr. Sheila Jacobs

Dr. Sheila Jacobs will serve as interim chancellor at Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus beginning July 1, 2023.

Jacobs took office as chief academic officer at ATU-Ozark Campus in 2019. She provided leadership for accreditation of the registered nursing program and re-accreditation of the collision repair technology, automotive service technology, human services, cardiac sonography and emergency medical technician/paramedic programs at ATU-Ozark.

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

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

Through those two initiatives, 12 career coaches are serving multiple K-12 school districts as part of an ATU outreach to seven Arkansas counties.

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.

“Dr. Jacobs’ enthusiasm for education, commitment to the mission and vision of Arkansas Tech University and attention to the well-being of her colleagues and students are evident in her day-to-day leadership style,” said Dr. Robin E. Bowen, ATU president. “I am grateful for her willingness to take on this interim assignment and ensure that ATU-Ozark Campus continues to provide outstanding educational and workforce development opportunities for students, business and industry.”

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.

Over the next three decades, she advanced in her career to become a K-12 curriculum director, director of secondary education, federal programs coordinator and high school principal in the Russellville School District. She also served as an adjunct English and education instructor at ATU’s Russellville campus.

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

As part of her doctoral work, Jacobs contributed to a joint research project that was published in the Journal of Student Affairs.

She also offered a lecture on her dissertation, “Voices of the Mentors: An Examination of Perceptions and Meaning-making of Mentors in a Site-based Program,” during the 2020 Mid-South Educational Research Association Conference.

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.

Jacobs will succeed Bruce Sikes, who is retiring June 30, 2023, after 10 years as ATU-Ozark chancellor, 16 years in senior leadership at ATU-Ozark and 37 years in education.

“I am honored to be selected to serve as interim chancellor,” said Jacobs. “I would like to thank Dr. Bowen for entrusting me with this important responsibility. I am especially grateful to Chancellor Bruce Sikes for his leadership and commitment to the university’s vision and mission. The students, faculty and staff of ATU-Ozark are inspiring, and it’s my honor to serve in this capacity.”

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