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College of Liberal Arts
University of Mississippi

University Names New FASTrack Director

Experienced educator Derrick Jones joins university’s learning community

Derrick Jones

Derrick Jones


The University of Mississippi College of Liberal Arts has selected Derrick T. Jones as the new director of the FASTrack: Foundations of Academic Success Track program.

Jones previously served as executive director of Upward Bound at Mississippi Valley State University, which provided low-income, first-generation high school students from the Mississippi Delta with a strict academic curriculum, academic help and cultural activities to broaden their horizons toward higher education.

“Derrick Jones is a leader who takes a student-centered approach to everything he does,” said Kirsten Dellinger, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion at the College of Liberal Arts. “His work as the executive director of Upward Bound helped create pathways to success for many college-bound students.”

The UM FASTrack learning community provides a strong foundation for academic success by easing students’ transition from high school. FASTrack helps first-year students build campus connections through linked classes, one-on-one mentoring, a living-learning residence hall, cocurricular programs and enhanced student leadership opportunities.

“I am both delighted and grateful to serve as director of such an esteemed and established learning community that helps first-year students matriculate, build great character and feel right at home at the University of Mississippi,” said Jones, who starts May 9.

“I am looking forward to working with the FASTrack staff, campus partners and vested stakeholders in continuing to provide the vast services that will encourage and motivate our first-year scholars to succeed and ultimately graduate.”

Jones, who received a bachelor’s degree in general studies and a master’s in guidance education from Alcorn State University and a master’s in sports administration from MVSU, managed three successful five-year TRIO Program grants totaling more than $2.2 million at MVSU.

Jones also served as president of the Mississippi Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel from 2015 to 2017 and worked for Leflore County Public Schools as a guidance counselor.

“Derrick brings with him a great deal of experience that I am confident will be of great benefit to our students,” said Lee M. Cohen, dean of liberal arts. “When meeting with him, I was particularly impressed with his approachability and dedication to student success.”