About the Provost
Dennis C. Jacobs, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Chemistry
Dr. Jacobs was appointed in 2011 to serve as Santa Clara University’s fourth Provost. As the University’s chief academic officer, he provides leadership and management for all aspects of academics, student life, and information services, and ensures that Santa Clara’s educational programs and strategic initiatives are consistent with the University's vision, mission, and values. Dr. Jacobs reports directly to University President, Fr. Michael Engh, S.J.
For more than two decades, Prof. Jacobs has conducted research and taught chemistry at both the undergraduate and doctoral level. Much of his research focused on studying reactions relevant to semiconductor processing in the microelectronics industry. In 2008, he launched a yearlong experiment on the International Space Station to record how polymeric materials (plastics) degrade under continuous attack by energetic particles in low-earth orbit. These experiments were part of a national effort to develop inexpensive, lightweight materials for use in next-generation satellites.
In 2002, Prof. Jacobs was named the ‘U.S. Professor of the Year for Doctoral and Research Universities’ by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The award honors dedication to teaching, commitment to students and creative approaches to education, and is the only national award to acknowledge teaching excellence.
Dr. Jacobs was born and raised in California. He earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University in 1988 and bachelor's degrees in chemistry and physics from the University of California at Irvine in 1982. Dr. Jacobs was a chemistry professor at the University of Notre Dame from 1988-2011, and from 2004-2011, he served as Notre Dame’s Vice President and Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and International Studies. He and his wife, Thea, are blessed with three adult children.