Professor uses Facebook, AIM to talk with students

You can find her at 8.0 enjoying the music, sipping on cocktails at the Reata, walking through Sundance Square on the way to Bass Hall and cheering on the Horned Frog football team. And her profile is on Facebook if you want to know more.Sorry guys, she’s taken.

Beata Jones, an associate professor of professional practice in e-business and Neeley Fellows director, has a husband and a son with whom she spends most of her free time. But her students also require her attention.

Jones started teaching at TCU in 1995, but she left in 1999 and returned in January 2002.

This semester, Jones was named one of Mortar Board’s Preferred Professors.

She said her job allows her to end her day in time to pick up her 7-year-old son from school.

“It’s important to strike a balance, and I think I’ve struck that balance,” said Jones, 44.

Even when she goes home, she is available to her students. Jones said she communicates with her students through AOL Instant Messenger, e-mail and Facebook. She said it is important that her students are able to have access to her all hours of the day.

Maria Correa, a sophomore marketing major, said she has noticed Jones online at 1:30 a.m. on AIM some nights.

“I don’t know if she sleeps,” Correa said.

Jane Mackay, director of the e-business program and an associate professor of e-business, said staying in the labs until midnight helping students with projects also demonstrates Jones’ dedication to her students.

“She’s just always willing to give her time no matter what the circumstances,” Mackay said.

Jones said she has a lot of athletes in her classes. At the end of the semester, she has all her students who are football players sign a football. She keeps the footballs on display in her office.

She said she enjoys attending TCU football games in support of her students.

“It’s great to go to the games to watch my students do what they do best,” Jones said.

Jones has close relationships with her family and her students. But she has another love – technology.

“I’m excited about the Web – all the doors it opens for us,” Jones said.

Jones grew up in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to the United States when she was 20. She was in a program at Baruch College, City University of New York, where she received her bachelor’s degree in computer information systems and her master’s degree in operations research. She received her doctorate in computer science from the Graduate Center, CUNY.

“I was fascinated with the fact that you could make computers mimic the behaviors of human beings,” Jones said.

Correa, who is from Colombia, said Jones treats all her students the same.

“She doesn’t change because you are an international student, but she understands that it can be harder for you,” she said.

Jones said she was an international student and was treated the same as everyone else on campus, but she said she does realize it can be a difficult adjustment if a student is new to the area. She said she offers help outside class to all students, international or not.

“The content of the conversations might be slightly different, but the motivation and the approach is the same in both cases – to engage the student in a conversation, make them feel welcome and be of assistance if I can,” Jones said.

Correa said Jones devotes herself to her students and even took the time to send Correa a happy birthday message on Facebook.

Correa also said that if a student e-mails Jones the homework, she will e-mail back to say, “Thanks for the homework.”

Jones really cares about her students being successful, Correa said.

“She takes your results as her results,” Correa said.

When former e-business students came to Correa’s class to speak about opportunities in e-business, she said Jones couldn’t have looked happier.

“The way she looked at them was like she’s very proud – like they were her own kids,” Correa said.