An Inside Scoop on the Recent Appointee: Provost Walt Jacobs

Mandy Chen, Staff Writer

Walt Jacobs was named Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs this February, starting at his new position in July 2022.

Prior to assuming his title as California State University, East Bay’s newest Provost and Vice President, Jacobs began his career in academia as a professor in 1999. “Ever since I became a professor, I’ve always been about student success [and] helping students graduate on time. [I want them to] have a great experience in their classes,” he recalled.

Regarding his recent appointment, Jacobs is very excited about this role and noted that this experience is, “an opportunity for me to continue the work that I’ve done my whole career.” The new provost has expressed his admiration for the California State University system and the university itself. According to Jacobs, CSUEB is a good environment to carry these aspirations due to it being a, “great place, great location with awesome students, great faculty and staff.”

When deciding whether to accept this new post, Jacobs knew he wanted to stay within the CSU system due to its “commitment to students’ success, to those students who are first generation, [and to] those of color.” He wanted to work with a population he was already accustomed to and that was similar to San Jose State University, which was his previous position with prior to CSUEB.

Jacobs noted that this new position was a challenge that he was ready to face: “I was a dean for eight years and was ready for the next thing.”

Regarding his potential impact on the university operations, Jacobs felt that there aren’t so many changes that he wants to see occur in the school, instead wishing to preserve the way things are run. He discussed his goals of maintaining transparency and communication so that students are able to receive updates as to what faculty are doing and implementing. “What are we going to do together?” is Jacobs’ principal question, asserting that the best way to unify the school is to talk to everyone involved, whether it’s students, professors, or librarians.

Jacobs wishes to emphasize mentoring and coaching as ways to help guide students toward their future career expectations and planning. “Mentoring and coaching helps students figure out their pathway and be successful on that pathway,” said Jacobs, noting that peer mentoring is just as important in professional development. As a provost, Jacobs will be engaged in mentoring deans, commenting: “Part of my job is helping them do their job to the best of their abilities. I really enjoy that process.”

In addition to mentoring, Jacobs will be dealing with faculty unions under his new role. “One big part of my job is making sure we follow the collective bargaining agreement,” which includes, “working commissions and [the] rights and responsibilities of faculty,” said Jacobs. He highlights the difference between his previous roles in saying: “Deans oversee one college while provosts oversee all the colleges. So, there’s a little bit more responsibility [and] a little bit more meetings than I used to have.”

Regardless, Jacobs enjoys the fact that there are many initiatives for success at CSUEB, where an important component is diversity, equity, and inclusion. For the future of our university, Jacobs hopes to foster more research development among faculty and students. Like many, he believes that CSUEB has what it takes to be a prestigious institution, and with his help — the university might, indeed, become one.