Dr. Tina Naremore Jones, Executive Director of the Division of Economic Development and Outreach, earned both her B.A. and M.A.T. degrees in English from Livingston University (now the University of West Alabama). Her Ph.D. in American Literature is from the University of Southern Mississippi.
While obtaining her degrees, Jones discovered a love of journalism and writing. She worked with the Western Star newspaper in Bessemer, Alabama, and served as the faculty advisor for UWA’s weekly student newspaper, The Life for 12 years. She was the co-editor with Dr. Joe Taylor of the anthology Belles’ Letters: Contemporary Stories of Alabama Women, one of four editors for Tartts: Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers, and a contributing writer to the anthology, Alabama Women Their Lives and Times (2017) . In 2010, Jones served as the chair of the 175th anniversary committee for UWA and edited Bridging Time: 175 Years at The University of West Alabama.
Now in her 26th year as a faculty member at UWA, she holds the rank of professor in English. Jones has served as president for board of directors for the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation and the Alabama Black Belt Heritage Area. She is a president of the Sumter County Fine Arts Council and is a member of the board of directors for the Alabama Folklife Association, the Alabama Trust for Historic Preservation and Black Belt Treasures. She also sits on the advisory board for the Alabama Department of Archives and History, where she chairs their scholarship committee. Jones was the founding director for the Center for the Study of the Black Belt, and Division of Educational Outreach. At UWA, Jones successfully chaired the University’s most recent reaffirmation (accreditation) process. She regularly speaks to the general public on a variety topics focused on Black Belt history, culture and literature.
Jones’ interest in the Black Belt of Alabama and preservation stems largely from research gathered during the writing of her dissertation, Stealing Away from Society’s Conventions: Negotiations of Voice in the Work of Ruby Pickens Tartt. A noted Alabama folklorist, a native of Sumter County, an Alabama Normal College (now UWA) and member of the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame, Tartt became a gateway for Jones’ study into West Alabama history and Black Belt culture.
She is the 2007 winner of the Gilbert Outstanding Award for Teaching and a past winner of the Loraine McIlwain-Bell trustee professorship award and College of Liberal Arts Achievement Award. In 2011, the Division of Educational Outreach was named UWA’s Outstanding Organization by the UWA National Alumni Association. She is a graduate of the 2017 class of Leadership Alabama.
In her current role, she oversees project development and management and works with federal, state, regional, and local partners leveraging cultural heritage tourism as a vital economic development strategy.