Dr. Patricia (Patty) Jones

Patty Jones Profile Picture

Patty Jones is a visionary leader at the nexus of research, innovation, and academic excellence. She graduated magna cum laude from Illinois with a degree in psychology in 1986, where he worked with Professor Chris Wickens, one of the leading figures in the world in human factors research and a much-beloved member of our faculty. She received a Ph. D. from Georgia Tech in Industrial and Systems Engineering and has had an amazing career marked by groundbreaking research in industry and academia and impactful leadership.

Patty returned to Illinois as a Mechanical and Industrial Engineering professor, where she led the Human-Computer Cooperative Problem Solving Lab. Her research, funded by prestigious entities like the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Navy, and the Army, focused on interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving, bridging human cognition and technology.

She left Illinois to become the Deputy Chief of the Human Factors Research and Technology Division at NASA Ames Research Center. There, she rose up through the ranks quickly, becoming the Acting Chief of the Human Systems Integration Division and eventually the Deputy Director of the Exploration Technology Directorate. Patty shaped research initiatives in these management positions and fostered collaboration across huge interdisciplinary teams, advancing exploration technology and human systems integration. When she led the Human Systems Integration Division, she oversaw a budget of over $30 million and a team of more than 100 researchers in human factors and human systems integration for NASA missions. As Deputy Director of the Exploration Technology Directorate, she oversaw technical work in Intelligent Systems, Human-Systems Integration, NASA’s advanced supercomputing facilities, and Entry Systems and Technologies. Her work at NASA combined the technical challenges of aerospace engineering with the no-less technical challenges of designing systems that work well with their human users.

Patty’s current incarnation is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation in Compliance here at Illinois. In that role, Patty oversees campus-wide efforts to ensure safe, ethical, and productive research conduct. Patty manages the units that provide investigator support and regulatory oversight for activities involving biological safety, chemicals, human subjects, and radioactive materials.

Patty's great diversity of experience and interdisciplinary expertise make her a terrific candidate to speak to our graduates about the value of a degree in Psychology and the career paths that that degree can open for them.