Santa Clara University


Provost's Office News & Events


Provost's Office News & Events

Provost's Office News & Events

  •  Board of Trustees Approves a New Degree Program and Faculty Handbook Revisions

    Friday, Feb. 24, 2012


    The Board of Trustees Approves a New Degree Program and Faculty Handbook Revisions
    I am pleased to announce that, at its meeting on February 10, 2012, the Board of Trustees approved (i) a set of clarifications and amendments to the Faculty Handbook that were recently endorsed by the faculty senate, and (ii) the creation of a new degree, a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in the Department of Education. 
    The Board acted on the recommendation of the University's Academic Affairs Committee which recommended that the MAT degree become effective for the cohort entering the University in summer/fall 2012. I would like to thank Pedro Hernandez-Ramos and Lisa Goldstein for their work in developing an excellent proposal for the new MAT degree.  For their careful review of the proposal I would also like to thank the Dean's Office in the School of Education and Counseling Psychology and the members of the Academic Affairs Committee: Phyllis Brown, Elsa Chen (chair), Steve Chiappari, Robert Henderschott, Pat Hoggard, Katrina Jaber (student representative), Diane Jonte-Pace, Gudrun Tabbert-Jones, and Jeff Zorn.
    The clarifications to the Faculty Handbook include:
    ·          Both courses and course-equivalents are included in determining terms of adjunct faculty on fixed-term appointments.
    ·          Department chairs write a contextual letter as part of the tenure and promotion process.
    ·          Non-reappointed non-tenure-track candidates will be informed, upon request, of reasons for denial of reappointment or promotion.
    ·          Retired faculty may be re-hired in adjunct appointments.
    ·          Approval process for faculty who wish to teach elsewhere is streamlined.
    The amendments to the Faculty Handbook include:
    ·          New Lecturers must complete at least one review cycle before applying for promotion to Senior Lecturer.
    ·          Academic year appointments must be at least 50% time.
    ·          Adjunct professors and research professors may, with approval of the Provost, be appointed for more than six academic years.
    ·          Senior Lecturers are eligible to apply for sabbatical after nine quarters of service.
    ·          A postdoctoral fellow appointment category was created.
    ·          Visiting Scholars and postdoctoral fellows are not eligible to participate in the defined contribution retirement plan.
    The revisions to the Faculty Handbook are effective immediately and will be incorporated within the coming weeks into the website For their work in drafting the Faculty Handbook revisions, I would like to thank the members of the Faculty Affairs Committee: Jeffrey Baerwald, S.J. (co-chair), Matthew Bell, Barbara Kelley, Suzanne Luttman, Kathleen Maxwell, Margaret Russell, Reynaud Serrette (co-chair), and Amy Shachter.
    Best wishes,
  •  Task Force on Class Scheduling and Classroom Utilization

    Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012

    Dear Colleagues:

    In spring 2011, the Interim Provost and the Faculty Senate President formed a Task Force on Class Scheduling and Classroom Utilization* to help the University understand better how many and what types of instructional spaces are needed to support student learning.  The Task Force was also asked to attend to how the scheduling of classes “impacts faculty’s ability to manage those tasks beyond teaching for which they are responsible.”

    The Task Force submitted its report and recommendations in December 2011.  As Faculty Senate President and Provost, we want to thank the members of the Task Force for their fine work. We are grateful for their thoughtful analysis and recommendations.

    The report has been posted at, and faculty are invited to submit comments/suggestions anonymously through the website.

    The full report contains the following elements:

    • A summary report concluding with ten recommendations designed to enhance scheduling flexibility, improve classroom utilization, and foster better communication (p. 1-9).
    •  A proposal for a revision of the current guidelines for class scheduling (p. 11-15) and, for the purpose of comparison, the current (2009) guidelines for class scheduling (p. 16-19).
    • A report on the fall 2011 faculty survey focusing on possibilities for off-peak class scheduling (p. 20-37). This includes an analysis and a complete list of responses.
    • An analysis of utilization patterns for classrooms and other instructional spaces at Santa Clara (p. 38-41)
    • An analysis of the history and current patterns of scheduled classes and classrooms at Santa Clara (p. 42-51).
    • The original charge of the Task Force (p. 52-53).

    Members of the task force will discuss the report at the Faculty Senate Council meeting on February 8, 2012.  The report has already been discussed with the Planning Action Council among other groups.  Feedback from faculty and the Faculty Senate Council is of critical importance as we plan next steps.


    Dennis Jacobs        William Greenwalt      
    Provost                     Faculty Senate President

    *  Task Force members include the following: Glenn Appleby, Darren Atkinson, Charles Erekson, Diane Jonte-Pace, Kristin Kusanovich, Dale Larson, Jill Pellettieri, and Neal Ushman. Glenn Appleby served as Chair in spring 2011 and Jill Pellettieri served as Chair in Fall 2011.  The group was staffed by Monica Augustin and assisted by Suzanne Dancer. 


  •  Intrusion into SCU Student Grade Records

    Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011


    I would like to provide you with an update on the University's response to the discovery of a computer intrusion which resulted in a number of unauthorized grade changes.
    Following Santa Clara's announcement of the grade tampering incident on November 14, 2011, the university registrar has reached out to each and every faculty member, undergraduate student and former student whose grades were altered by the computer intrusion.  In addition to notifying the affected parties that one or more of their grades had been inappropriately changed, the registrar invited them to contact her immediately if they believed that any of the grade changes was indeed authorized.  The response from the registrar's inquiry confirmed that none of the grade changes in question was legitimate.  Consequently on December 9, 2011, the university registrar restored all inappropriately changed grades back to the original values submitted by the respective instructors.
    The University continues to cooperate fully with the FBI's ongoing investigation into the incident. 
    Warm wishes for a relaxing holiday,
    Dennis Jacobs
    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  •  Update on the Faculty Work-Life Advisory Committee

    Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

    Dear Colleagues:

    As the fall term draws to a close, I want to provide a brief update on the University’s efforts to promote career flexibility and work-life balance, and summarize the accomplishments associated with the Sloan Award for Faculty Career Flexibility. I want to thank all of those who supported this initiative, especially Don Dodson and the Faculty Work-life Advisory Committee, which played a critical role in the implementation of the award.
    We have much to celebrate. With support from the Sloan Award, the University:

    ·          Created programs and policies to encourage flexibility and balance, including competitive course releases for faculty research, non tenure-track faculty appointment policies, a tenure clock extension policy, a flexible course scheduling policy, and a modified duties policy
    ·          Developed better communication tools to showcase work-life resources, including a redesigned Faculty Development website, a Chair¹s Toolkit with information on career flexibility and work-life balance, and a Faculty Resources Brochure
    ·          Facilitated workshops with department chairs, academic administrators, and promotion and tenure committees to highlight the importance of career flexibility and work-life balance
    ·          Provided useful resources, including, work-life lunches and workshops, a work-life consultant, work-life coaching, and elder care coaching
    ·          Explored the need for additional work-life support through an analysis of faculty work-life balance by Laura Nichols (Sociology) and Kieran Sullivan (Psychology)

    Although the Sloan Award has reached its conclusion, the University will continue its efforts to promote work-life balance and career flexibility.

    We also need to celebrate the faculty who worked tirelessly to create an impressive array of policies, programs, and resources. My sincere thanks go to Linda Kamas (Economics), Jim Bennett (Religious Studies), Diane Dreher (English), Laura Ellingson (Communication), Pedro Hernández-Ramos (Education), Ed Maurer (Civil Engineering), Laura Nichols (Sociology), Chuck Powers (Sociology), Bill Prior (Philosophy), Kieran Sullivan (Psychology), Bill Sundstrom (Economics), and Eleanor Willemsen (Psychology).

    The Faculty Work-Life Advisory Committee has transitioned to an ad hoc committee of the Faculty Senate and is chaired by Eleanor Willemsen. This Committee will advise the Faculty Senate on work-life issues.  Eleanor will be communicating regularly with Eileen Razzari Elrod, Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Development, to ensure that the Provost’s Office continues to be informed of faculty work-life issues.
    I want to commend the entire University for promoting work-life balance and career flexibility in association with the Sloan Award and in other contexts. Should you have any suggestions or comments, please feel free to contact Eleanor, Eileen or me.

    With best wishes for a joyful holiday,

    Dennis Jacobs
    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  •  Faculty Appointment Model Implementation Update

    Wednesday, Sep. 21, 2011

    Dear Colleagues: 

    This message provides an update on the implementation of the appointment policies endorsed by the Faculty Senate and approved by the Board of Trustees in spring 2010. The policies, associated with non-tenure track faculty appointments, include the codification of renewable-term positions (see Faculty Handbook 3.4A.1).

    During the 2010-11 academic year, the Provost’s Office worked with deans and chairs to launch the initial implementation. The details of the implementation planning process are outlined in the Faculty Appointment Policies Implementation guidelines ( Current progress on implementation is described briefly below.

    Across the University, 31 faculty were transitioned from fixed-term appointments to renewable-term Lecturer appointments effective September 1, 2011.  The need for 22 additional Lecturer positions was indentified. These additional Lecturer positions will be filled over the course of the next two years pending approval of funding. The distribution of Lecturer positions sorted by College and School is attached.

    Eleven faculty were transitioned from fixed-term appointments to Professor of Practice positions. Several new Adjunct Associate, Adjunct Assistant Professors, and Dean’s Executive Professors were appointed as well.

    Finally, in 2011 the new procedure for promotion to senior lecturer was initiated.  Five faculty, all in the College of Arts and Sciences, have submitted petitions for promotion. The elections for the Arts and Sciences Committee for Promotion to Senior Lecturer will take place early this fall.  The complete timeline can be found at:

    As a part of the implementation process, the planning criteria endorsed by the Faculty Senate in 2010 were taken into consideration.  The two planning criteria are: 

    1. Ordinarily, tenured and tenure-track faculty shall constitute no less than one-half of the faculty holding appointments for a full academic year in any department.

    2. Faculty with renewable-term or continuing appointment shall ordinarily not constitute more than one-third the number of tenure and tenure-track faculty in any department.

    A majority of departments across the University currently meet the planning criteria. My office will continue to work with the deans to monitor our progress each year.

    I would like to thank the deans, department chairs, and faculty who helped assess the programmatic needs in their academic unit. The process contributed immensely to the establishment of fair and consistent practices across academic units, providing greater stability of appointments, reducing the burden that repetitive searches place on departments, and clarifying the components of the new category of renewable-term lecturer tomeet persistent programmatic needs.

    An open forum is scheduled for October 27 from 3:30 – 4:30 pm in the Williman Room for discussion of the process.  Should you have any questions about the implementation of the faulty appointment policies, please contact Amy Shachter, Associate Provost for Research and Faculty Affairs ( See also the non-tenure track appointment policies and FAQs at


    Dennis Jacobs
    Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


  •  New Department Prepares Students for Studies and Careers in Environmental Fields

    Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

    Santa Clara University will welcome a new department this fall to strengthen the training students receive in environmental studies and sciences. SCU approved the creation of the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences (ESS) in response to the growing need and interest in understanding and solving environmental problems. 

    “The establishment of a new Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences demonstrates and deepens Santa Clara University’s commitment to fashioning a world that is just, humane, and sustainable,” says Michelle Marvier, the new chair for ESS.
    When the university first offered environmental science and environmental studies as majors in 1999, only one student studied it. Today, 122 students are majoring in either environmental science or environmental studies and 20 more are minoring in environmental studies.
    As a part of creating ESS, the university will also transform the environmental studies companion major into a stand-alone major, giving the university depth to offer a robust coursework that focuses on societal responses to environmental problems.
    “In the past, students could major in environmental studies only in addition to some other primary major. Environmental studies is now recognized as a coherent and rigorous curriculum that includes environmental law, policy, and economics, as well as sustainable development,” says Marvier.
    Students who study environmental studies can pursue careers that are involved in the social, political and economic dimensions of sustainability, and environmental change.
     “The changes will help attract new students to the university who are interested in majoring in environmental studies and sciences, which are fields that are rapidly growing,” says Leslie Gray, executive director of Environmental Studies Institute.
    Santa Clara University’s Environmental Studies Institute will continue to operate as a separate entity and focus on outreach programs in the community such as AmeriCorps, sustainability across the curriculum, campus sustainability, healthy food systems, and urban gardening.
  •  New Tenure-Stream Faculty Join Santa Clara

    Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

    Please welcome the fifteen new tenure-stream faculty members who are joining the University in fall 2011.

    College of Arts and Sciences
    Michael Hickson (Philosophy)
    Virginia Matzek (Environmental Studies)
    Harry Odamtten (History)
    Lee Panich (Anthropology)   
    Ryan Reynolds (Art and Art History)                       
    Anna Sampaio (Ethnic Studies)
    Katherine Saxton (Biology)   
    Christina Zanfagna (Music)               
    Jesuit School of Theology
    Paul Janowiak, S.J. (Theology)
    Leavey School of Business
    John Ifcher (Economics)        
    Haibing Lu (Operations Management and Information Systems)
    Wei Shi (Marketing)  
    David Zimbra (Operations Management and Information Systems)
    School of Engineering
    Prashanth Asuri (Electrical Engineering)     
    Zhiwen Zhang (Electrical Engineering)              
  • Comes to SCU

    Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011

    As part of an ongoing effort to promote work life balance, Human Resources and the Provost’s Office are pleased to report that the University entered into a pilot project with

 provides an accessible online resource to connect individual faculty and staff with vetted care providers. The company has a particular strength in child and senior care, but addresses the full lifecycle of care needs. The service enables individuals to search nationally to find and select the best care possible based on detailed profiles, background checks, and references.
 also offers elder care planning and management. It provides individual consultations, research on provider options, comprehensive written care plans, access to a national credentialed provider network, rate negotiation, and assistance in identifying backup care.
    The idea for this partnership emerged through a series of work-life workshops that were sponsored by the Provost’s Office. During these sessions, a number of faculty and staff shared that it is difficult to find and retain qualified child and elder care providers. In hope of reducing this burden, the University sought out the help of Early indications suggest that users are satisfied with the resource.’s Senior Care Counseling program has been especially well-received. A number of employees have shared that they are grateful for the guidance the senior care counselors have provided.
    If you have not already done so, consider visiting the website. Access is free for all faculty and staff. Please visit and use your email address to register. If you have questions, contact Ed Ryan or Caroline Zelaya.
  •  Board of Trustees Approves Two Academic Program Changes

    Saturday, Jun. 4, 2011


    The Board of Trustees approved two academic program changes, along with various revisions to the Faculty Handbook, at its meeting last Friday.
    The academic program changes are:
    ·          Creation of a new Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences. The Board acted on the recommendation of the Academic Affairs Committee, which recommended that this new department become effective in fall 2011. The current Environmental Studies Institute will continue as a separate entity.
    ·          Creation of a stand-alone major in Environmental Studies. The College of Arts and Sciences currently offers a stand-alone major in Environmental Sciences and a companion major in Environmental Studies. The Academic Affairs Committee recommended making Environmental Studies a stand-alone major, effective in fall 2011.
    The changes to the Faculty Handbook include:
    ·          Revisions of Section These changes clarify the ways in which different categories of faculty can participate in searches for tenure-track and tenured faculty. They were recommended by the Faculty Affairs Committee and endorsed by the Faculty Senate on a vote of 90-31 before approval by the Board of Trustees.
    ·          Revisions (passim) of Sections 3.7.4, 3.7.7, and 3.7.8. These changes update Handbook sections related to research compliance structures and procedures. They were recommended by the Faculty Affairs Committee and endorsed by the Faculty Senate on a vote of 108-10 before approval by the Board of Trustees.
    ·          Revisions of Section These changes clarify that Grievance Committees do not have jurisdiction over decisions involving denial of tenure, promotion, or reappointment of faculty. The clarifications are framed in terms of the different categories of faculty created by the new faculty appointment model approved last year. They were recommended by the Faculty Affairs Committee, endorsed by the Faculty Senate, and approved by the Board of Trustees.
  •  Santa Clara University Names New Provost

    Monday, May. 9, 2011

    Santa Clara University announced the selection of Dennis Jacobs as the new provost and vice president for academic affairs. He will begin his duties this summer.

    Jacobs will be the chief academic officer of Santa Clara and provide leadership and management of all aspects of academic and student life programs, information services, and athletics. Jacobs, who comes to Santa Clara from the University of Notre Dame, where he served as vice president and associate provost for undergraduate studies since 2004, will report directly to University President Michael Engh, S.J.
    “With enthusiasm I welcome Dennis Jacobs to Santa Clara University and look forward to working with him to advance the University and its strategic plan,” said Michael Engh, S.J. “His record of success augurs well for continued and greater success here in the Silicon Valley.”
    At Notre Dame, Jacobs worked to implement the core curriculum, launched new study abroad programs, and established the Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement to cultivate scholars and enhance research opportunities for students. He initiated a Residential Scholars program to help bridge the divide between academic and residential life. He also helped recruit a more diverse undergraduate student body through a variety of strategic initiatives including modifying Notre Dame’s financial aid packaging.
    “I feel privileged to have this opportunity to be a part of the next exciting chapter at Santa Clara University,” said Jacobs. “Santa Clara has all the academic ingredients to make a significant and lasting impact here in the Silicon Valley and globally.”
    Jacobs is drawn to Santa Clara’s holistic approach to education informed by its rich Jesuit and Catholic tradition. “The aim is to develop outstanding leaders and professionals who are committed to form a more humane, just and sustainable world,” said Jacobs. “Santa Clara is distinctive in the way it blends an ethical perspective and the principles of social justice with intellectual inquiry and technological innovation.”
    In addition to guiding the vision of Notre Dame’s undergraduate program, Jacobs has been a chemistry and biochemistry faculty member at Notre Dame since 1988. His research has focused on studying reactions relevant to semiconductor processing in the microelectronics industry. For the past decade, he has taught a community-based learning course in which student teams visit families who live below the poverty level to test for lead contamination in their homes.
    Jacobs has published extensively and received numerous grants and awards. Among his many accolades are the Kaneb Teaching Award at Notre Dame, Carnegie Scholar of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and the prestigious Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities awarded by CASE, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The CASE award honors dedication to teaching, commitment to students and creative approaches to education. It is the only national award to acknowledge teaching excellence.