Educational Leadership and Higher Education

  • Jennifer Benson Jones, PhD

Jennifer Benson Jones, PhD

Program Areas

Doctoral and Masters courses in Higher Education Administration

Research/Interest Areas

  • Student retention, persistence, and success
  • Higher Education Policy, Procedures, and Law


Dr. Jones joined the Higher Education Administration program at St. Cloud State University in 2018. As a faculty member at St. Cloud State University, Dr. Jones serves as the program director for the Higher Education Administration Master's and Certificate Program.

Previously, Dr. Jones served as a graduate lecturer at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln for the last eight years, worked with colleges and universities on retention-related initiatives including the implementation of early alert systems. Dr. Jones was a clinical assistant professor of higher education at the University of Alabama and served as the director of academic retention at UA for three years. In that role, she evaluated student retention data to create, implement, and manage appropriate support programs for first-year students struggling to acclimate to campus life, primarily managing a Web-based retention program designed to engage first-year students in an online community and connect them with campus resources and information. Dr. Jones also worked as a Change Management Consultant for Accenture, a global consulting firm, for five years. Additionally, she garnered significant work experience in residential life and university development through positions at the College of William and Mary, Hamline University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Eastern Illinois.

Dr. Jones holds a B.S. from Minnesota State University – Mankato, a M.S. from Eastern Illinois University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from The College of William and Mary in Virginia. Jennifer currently reside in Mankato, MN with her spouse, David, and her children, Cooper (18) and Riley (16) and her faithful dog, Bama (ROLL TIDE).

Courses Taught

  • HIED 604 Introduction to Higher Education
  • HIED 624 Legal and Ethical Aspects in Higher Education
  • HIED 644 Higher Education Finance
  • HIED 654 University-Community Relations in Higher Education
  • HIED 672 Practicum in Higher Education Administration
  • HIED 684 Written Comprehensive Exam
  • HIED 801 College and University Leadership
  • HIED 803 Community Building
  • HIED 805 Budget and Finance in Higher Education
  • HIED 806 Higher Education Law
  • HIED 820 The College Student
  • HIED 821 College Student Development Theory
  • HIED 880 Dissertation Proposal Development
  • HIED 880 Special Topics in Higher Education
  • HIED 899 Dissertation Research