Dennis C. Jacobs, Ph.D.
Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
Professor of Chemistry
Dennis C. Jacobs joined Fordham in July 2019 as the University’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. As the institution’s chief academic officer, he works to enhance Fordham’s array of outstanding educational programs, promote high-impact research activities, and cultivate a community of distinguished teaching scholars across the University’s nine undergraduate, graduate, and professional schools.
Jacobs earned bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and physics from the University of California at Irvine in 1982 and a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University in 1988. From 1988 to 2011, he was a chemistry professor at the University of Notre Dame, where he taught thousands of undergraduate and graduate students. Jacobs focused much of his laboratory research 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 degrade under continuous attack by energetic particles in low-earth orbit.
In 2002, Jacobs was named 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 excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring. From 2004 to 2011, Jacobs served as Notre Dame’s vice president and associate provost for undergraduate studies and international studies. From 2011 to 2019, he served as provost and vice president for academic affairs at Santa Clara University, a Jesuit Catholic university situated in the heart of Silicon Valley.
He and his wife, Thea, are blessed with three adult children and two grandchildren.