B.A. Peace & Global Studies, Earlham College
M. Ed. Counselor Education, University of Maine
Ph.D. Counselor Education, University of Maine
I travelled a long road to be here, through working engagements in global youth leadership, nature conservation, work in the service economy, advertising, tree work, and even aviation maintenance. Through it all, though, I received a great deal of guidance, encouragement and inspiration by both academic mentors and guides, who continued to encourage me to resume my studies, as well as by countless authors, both classic and modern. At the University of Maine, I completed Master’s level coursework dual-track as guidance and clinical counseling to serve those suffering from mental illness as a clinical counselor as well as serving as a primary school guidance counselor. Most recently, I completed my doctoral program with a dissertation focused on adolescent peer mentors, empathy and moral development. I was struck by how powerfully our efforts to help one another through our collective human struggle created moments of real connection and some genuine compassionate communities. It seemed on some level, we all wanted to become better, healthier, more compassionate and ethical people.
Even while continuing to serve students and clients in my capacities as a clinical, guidance and drug & alcohol counselor, I was fascinated by the power of generations of philosophers and our accumulated, worldwide, ancient wisdom – what has been called the Great Conversation – to truly change lives. In my more recent work as a high school ethics teacher and principal, I saw ambitious students transformed by their love of literature and the study of virtue. Creative talents were unleashed as students were challenged to create their own moral compasses, and then to do so in concert with their friends and classmates. Whether journeying through Dante’s moral imagination, commiserating with Boethius in his prison cell, or battling self-interest for mutual benefit, as in the Prisoner’s Dilemma, encountering these subjects in groups allows students to engage with their inner struggles in the context of a caring community.
After many years seeing both the opportunities and the limitations of each of these roles as a counselor, teacher and administrator, it was a delight to be welcomed into the Honors college by the dean François Amar and the associate dean Melissa Ladenheim. They introduced me to a college that was truly centered on the humanities in the largest possible sense. Through the College’s commitment to their faculty, the dedication to their students, and their openness and regard for tradition, the UMaine Honors college continues to develop a true 21st century paideia , a culture of learning, in ways that both broaden and deepen the meaning of classic. Every year I continue to draw inspiration from the classics, my colleagues, and our students – and I am delighted to offer what skills, experiences and knowledge I have to bring another generation of minds into the Great Conversation.
Dr. Joshua L. Jones, LCPC
Faculty, Honors College, UMaine