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FYI Exclusive: One on One with Dennis Jacobs
Dennis Jacobs was relieved to leave his snow shovels behind in South Bend, Ind. It will be no clear path for Santa Clara University’s new provost and vice president for academic affairs, however, as he tackles priorities including keeping the school affordable, increasing diversity, and overseeing all five schools.
According to Jacobs, perhaps the most difficult part of his job will be finding a balance between academic advancement and staying within the financial reach of students.
“The greatest challenge is working to make a Santa Clara education more affordable, which is a high priority and deep concern in these difficult economic times, while identifying ways to advance the University in significant ways,” he said. “Achieving this balance requires one to allocate funds strategically in support of the highest priorities.”
Jacobs, who had been working at Notre Dame since 1988, has his work cut out for him in his new position in other ways as well. He is not only responsible for overseeing SCU’s five schools, but also all undergraduate and graduate educational programs and curricula. Jacobs also commented that the University is already constantly advancing through its many programs and initiatives.
“It is energizing to discover the many innovative and transformative programs already underway at Santa Clara,” Jacobs said. “As provost, I have the opportunity to work with an outstanding team of academic leaders in shaping the future. We work strategically to create the conditions where the next set of high-priority initiatives can blossom and flourish.”
Some of Jacobs goals for the year start with getting to know the faculty, staff, students, and campus culture of Santa Clara and spread to following through with the strategic plan.
“This year, I will be working with the college, schools, centers, and various divisions to develop unit-specific implementation plans that will help us reach the institution’s ambitious goals,” Jacobs said. “Another important objective for the year will be to search for and successfully appoint two superb deans and a librarian. I am also eager to work with the Council on Inclusive Excellence to enrich the diversity of Santa Clara’s students, faculty, and staff.”
However, Jacobs would like to see some other goals scored too. Last year, while working at the University of Notre Dame, Jacobs was lucky enough to see their women’s soccer team win the NCAA national championship. He comes to SCU with similar hopes, wishing the team the best of luck.
On a personal level, Jacobs is happy to be back in the Bay Area.
“Twenty-five years ago my wife and I got married just 14 miles away from Santa Clara,” he said. “We are excited to be returning to the Bay Area.”
FYI wishes you and your wife a very happy 25th anniversary.