Student returns to teach at OTC

The OTC catchphrase of “Start Here, Go Anywhere” isn’t lost on Andrea Jones. In fact, she took expanded the brand promise to include “and you can back anytime.”

Jones, who graduated from OTC and took classes while the college was located at the old North Town Mall, is now back as the college’s only full-time criminology instructor.

Jones’ interest in criminology piqued while attending Missouri State University after graduating from OTC. She went to Drury University to obtain her criminal justice degree.

“I started out as a psychology major, then went to social work major. I wanted more in my career, but I still wanted to do something positive for the community and work with troubled individuals,” she said.

“After taking my first criminal justice course (which I only took for an elective), I realized that I would probably get that action in the criminal justice field, more so, than if I became a psychologist or social worker.”

After graduation, Jones worked in law enforcement in the juvenile probation office for 13 years. Then she went on to teach at the University of Phoenix.

Last fall, she got a catch to come back to OTC as an instructor, teaching at both the OTC Springfield Campus and the OTC Lebanon Center.

“I think I was looking for a job at OTC on a weekly basis.  I have a passion for teaching and I was ready for a change,” she said.

Jones describes herself as a hands-on instructor.

“I love to take my students on prison tours, to court hearings and I have several speakers who come into my classes.  I make my classes very interactive in order for my students to obtain a hands-on experience of the criminal justice system.”

The changes in the OTC System amazed Jones when she returned as a faculty member.

“It was awesome coming back. I remember 1993 at the mall and now to have an actual campus, I love it,” she said. “I’ve been watching OTC and I’m amazed at its growth.”

What’s also been amazing is that some of the faculty who taught her are still at OTC, including psychology instructor John Gambon.

“He was one of my favorite instructors. When I got hired, he was still working here. He didn’t remember me,” she said. “It’s interesting in department meetings. John is sitting there and he taught me 20 years ago.”

Steve Koehler is coordinator of media relations at Ozarks Technical Community College.