Profile: Jim Adams
Jim Adams took an atypical path toward becoming a faculty member at Mississippi State. The songwriter and associate professor of instructional systems and workforce development also was a commercial painter and a car salesman before earning his doctorate from Oklahoma State University in adult and occupational education.
Adams had the opportunity to teach middle and high school students, but when he became a GED coordinator and began working with adults who were trying to further their education, he found a career he loves.
Now, Adams blends his love of working with adults with an interest in qualitative research on issues affecting educational systems. He launched a special research project in 2010 to chronicle first-hand accounts of desegregation of schools in Mississippi.
By personally interviewing principals, superintendents, coaches, and teachers who worked for Mississippi's schools during that time, Adams hopes to document a perspective that might otherwise be lost.
"Despite the fact that this was not a flattering time in Mississippi history, a lot of the professionals who were working in the schools did well to help things go smoothly for the students and teachers inside," Adams said.
"To hear the stories of what really happened, to me it's an invaluable resource," he added.
So far, Adams has interviewed more than 80 people about their experiences. In addition to his research, Adams teaches issues of diversity in work and educational environments—a popular class for students of all majors—and history and philosophy of career and technical education. Adams also serves the instructional systems and workforce development department as graduate coordinator.
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