Appointee Directory

Diane Auer Jones -- Department of Education
Assistant Secretary (Post Secondary)

President George W. Bush nominated Diane Auer Jones as assistant secretary for postsecondary education on May 22, 2007, and, she was confirmed to her post by the Senate on Aug. 1, 2007. As assistant secretary, she is the principal advisor to the secretary on all Departmental matters related to postsecondary education and her office administers numerous federal programs that support higher education nationwide. Under the Higher Education Act's Title IV, the Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) oversees Federal Student Aid programs, which provide financial assistance to eligible students enrolled in postsecondary educational institutions. Through its TRIO and GEAR UP programs, OPE seeks to help disadvantaged students prepare for, enter and succeed in higher education. Moreover, her office administers the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, which is focused on stimulating innovation to improve the quality of higher education. OPE also administers grant programs focused on strengthening the capacity of colleges and universities that serve low-income and minority students through a number of programs, including those targeted to Hispanic-Serving Institutions and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Finally, OPE directs a number of international education programs, including the well-known Fulbright and Javits programs. Jones came to the Department in May 2007 from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to serve as deputy assistant secretary for postsecondary education. A Baltimore native, Jones graduated summa cum laude from Salisbury State University with a B.S. degree in biology before earning her M.S. degree in applied molecular biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), in 1988. In 1988, she was hired by the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) and, for two years, ran the Upper Chesapeake Bay Water Quality Assessment Center, which under her leadership received grants from both the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the National Science Foundation. For ten years, first as an adjunct, and, later as an assistant and associate professor, Jones served on the faculty of CCBC, teaching courses in microbiology, environmental sciences, anatomy and genetics, among others. Starting in 1998, with funding from the National Science Foundation, she worked to establish CCBC's Biotechnology Institute, which partners with Maryland high schools, community colleges and universities to promote biotechnology education. From 1998 to 2000, while continuing to teach at CCBC, she also completed doctoral course work in molecular and cellular biology at nearby UMBC. In 2000, Jones became a program officer for the National Science Foundation, where she participated in the administration of three programs: Advanced Technological Education; Course, Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement; and Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics Scholarships. With the start of the 107th Congress in 2001, Jones was offered a professional staff job on the Research Subcommittee of the House Science Committee by Chairman Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.). For two years, she worked on a number of science, cyber security, construction safety and education-related bills that became law and on the engineering investigation of the World Trade Center collapse.

Diane Auer Jones
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