As students in Professor of Architecture Kay Bea Jones’s senior studio were presenting their construction site and section plans during a Monday mid-term review, they were unexpectedly visited by Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson, Executive Vice President & Provost Melissa l. Gilliam, Vice Provost for Academic Policy and Faculty Resources Helen I. Malone, and College of Engineering Dean Ayanna Howard. The occasion of the visit was to present Jones with the President and Provost’s Award for Distinguished Faculty Service. That award recognizes extensive contributions to the development and implementation of university policies and programs that have made a documentable impact on the quality of the university.
As the presentation began, Knowlton School Director Dorothée Imbert and Architecture Section Head Phu Hoang gathered with a crowd of Knowlton School faculty, students and staff, and invited guests to honor Jones’s distinguished legacy of service at Ohio State.
During her thirty-nine years as an Ohio State faculty member, Jones’s impact at the Knowlton School, as well as in the College of Engineering, university, and Columbus community includes leadership on numerous committees, multi-level research and outreach collaborations across the disciplines, and a sustained dedication to equity for women on campus and in the architecture profession.
Perhaps Jones’ greatest impact at the university is her extensive mentoring and networking to create and support women’s leadership at all levels. She was a founding member of the women’s grassroots network that led to the establishment of The Women’s Place, which serves as a catalyst for institutional change and opportunities for women’s growth at Ohio State. For her impact on workplace culture and the advancement of diversity and inclusion, Jones was recognized as an OSU Glass Breaker in 2017.
Jones’s service also extends to her leadership and engagement on university committees and association boards. Her work on the Arts and Memorials Committee created connections between engineering and arts departments and contributed to nationally prominent art installations at the Fisher College of Business, the Chadwick Learning Gardens, Haskett Hall, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Chemistry building, and the North Academic Corridor walkways (Lichtenstein’s “Modern Head”).
Additional service includes membership on the President’s Council on Women, A&S Curriculum Committee Panel, Presidents and Provosts Leadership Institute, advisory roles with the Mershon Center and Western European Studies Center, and numerous search committees. Jones has served nationally in academic leadership as an officer of the ACSA (Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) from 1996-1998 and as a team member for the NAAB (National Architecture Accreditation Board) from 1998-2003.
An advocate for childcare for OSU faculty and staff, she designed with George Acock the 2005 Buckeye Village Community Center addition to Ohio State’s childcare facilities on west campus, which allowed for meaningful changes to the way the university supports non-traditional students, particularly young mothers.
Jones has instructed and guided thousands of students through their degree program at the Knowlton School, and the Italian study abroad program she established in 1985 has provided life-changing experiences for architecture students. In 1991, the Italian program evolved into a quarter-long program in Rome and Ascoli Piceno under her guidance and leadership. Jones received the Boyer Award for Undergraduate Teaching (2001) from the College of Engineering for this service, and her service as COE Global Strategies and International Education Committee Chair led to expanded and diverse foreign study opportunities for students within the college.
“Kay Bea was my professor when I was an undergraduate student of architecture, and she has been my colleague for over twenty years,” said Professor of Architecture Beth Blostein. “During those decades she spent countless hours supporting me and providing mentorship through my foundational years at Ohio State and on my return to the Knowlton School as an assistant professor. Her influence on me and her contributions to the university, the Knowlton School, and the discipline and profession of architecture cannot be over-stated.”