Joyce Jacobsen, formerly Wesleyan’s provost and senior vice president for academic affairs and the Andrews Professor of Economics, was inaugurated Oct. 18 as the first woman president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges. At the ceremony, the chairman of the HWS Board of Trustees said: “Dr. Jacobsen enters the presidency of Hobart and William Smith at a time of increasing complexity in higher education both here on campus and nationally. It is my belief, and the unanimous belief of the Board of Trustees, that there is no one better to help us navigate this future than Dr. Joyce Jacobsen.” Read more coverage of the inauguration in Finger Lake Times.
In this Q&A, Associate Professor of History Victoria Smolkin discusses her book, A Sacred Space is Never Empty: A History of Soviet Atheism. She explains how religion in the former Soviet states has changed since the fall of the Soviet Union, and offers a preview of her second book project. Smolkin was a Title VIII Research Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute in 2014–15.
On Feb. 8, President Michael Roth announced in a campus-wide email that Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Joyce Jacobsen will become the president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y., beginning July 1.
In announcing Jacobsen’s appointment as president, Hobart and William Smith’s Board of Trustees Chair Thomas Bozzuto said, “President Jacobsen is a prominent scholar and an esteemed educator with a deep understanding of the interdisciplinary inquiry so vital to our mission here at Hobart and William Smith. In her work with students and colleagues in the academy, and with preeminent national and international organizations, she has distinguished herself as a remarkable leader with the experience, values, and vision to pilot the Colleges to new heights.”
Jacobsen joined Wesleyan’s Economics Department in 1993 and has contributed to the University in myriad ways—as a scholar, teacher, and administrator—since that time.
In the all-campus email, Roth wrote, “As a leader of the University, Joyce has touched nearly every aspect of university operations—overseeing the entire academic enterprise at Wesleyan, including Athletics, Institutional Research, and Community Partnerships. She has also been a thoughtful contributor to student affairs and equity and inclusion, and has helped create fundraising and stewardship plans and collaborated on admission and enrollment strategies.”
Joyce Jacobsen, third from left, with other economists at the Center for American Progress event. (Photo courtesy of the Center for American Progress)
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Joyce Jacobsen spoke at an event on Sept. 29 at the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. The event was on the topic, The Economics of Misogyny. Jacobsen spoke on the topic of feminist economics in conversation with Judith Warner, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. A video recording of the event can be seen here.
Jacobsen also is the Andrews Professor of Economics.
Wesleyan has developed a competencies framework to help students describe the skills that they can develop through their academic and co-curricular experiences, according to Joyce Jacobsen, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Certification of skills is a trend in higher education nowadays, particularly among providers of online education. While recognizing the importance of acquiring career—and life-building—skills, Jacobsen says Wesleyan’s approach also emphasizes the importance of helping students build a personal narrative about their Wesleyan experience.
“Competencies tie into current trends in higher education, regarding certification and acquisition of specific skills,” she adds. “We’re saying, however, that competencies should be acquired in a broader framework that speaks to the goals of liberal education. We’re trying to give students terms they can use to explain their liberal education to potential employers, to their families, to themselves.”
Joyce Jacobsen has accepted an appointment as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs through June of 2019.
Jacobsen joined the Wesleyan faculty in 1993 as an assistant professor of economics and in 2003 became the Andrews Professor of Economics. More recently, she served as Dean of Social Sciences and Director of Global Initiatives. A scholar of the economics of gender and employment, she is the author or co-editor of three books, including The Economics of Gender, Third Edition (2007), as well as numerous journal articles, book chapters, reviews and essays. Her outstanding contributions as an inspiring teacher-scholar were recognized with the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.
She has served as chair of the faculty, chair of the Educational Policy Committee, chair of the Department of Economics, co-chair of the College of Social Studies, vice-chair of the Review and Appeals Board, and on the governing board of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard/Radcliffe College; a master’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics; and a PhD in economics from Stanford University.
“I have enjoyed working with Joyce in her capacity as interim Provost and VPAA, and I look forward to the many contributions she will make in years to come,” President Michael Roth wrote in an all-campus e-mail. “Please join me in congratulating Joyce and thanking her for serving Wesleyan so well.”
This summer, Ruth Weissman will be stepping down as provost and vice president for academic affairs and returning to her role as the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences. Joyce Jacobsen, the Andrews Professor of Economics, dean of the Social Sciences and Director of Global Initiatives, has accepted a one-year appointment as interim provost and vice president for academic affairs.
“Ruth’s efforts over the past two years in support of the faculty, in overseeing the curriculum, and in exercising administrative leadership have been extraordinary,” said Wesleyan President Michael Roth in an all-campus e-mail. “Wesleyan has been fortunate indeed to have had her in this role.”
During Wesleyan’s Mid-Semester Recess, Joyce Jacobsen, dean of the Social Sciences Division, director of Global Initiatives and the Andrews Professor of Economics, visited Wesleyan’s study-abroad programs in Madrid, Bologna and Paris. Other faculty from both Wesleyan and Vassar (Wesleyan’s consortial partner at all three sites, along with Wellesley in Bologna) also were present, including Professor of Spanish Antonio Gonzalez, interim director of international studies. Each program has local staff (assistant directors, instructors and professors, and host families), many with longstanding relationships with the program. Jacobsen viewed the facilities, reviewed course enrollment procedures, and met with students, administrators and professors in all three locations.
During 2013-14, 38 students are studying in Madrid (31 from Wesleyan), 43 in Bologna (11 from Wesleyan), and 48 in Paris (21 from Wesleyan).
“The students were enthusiastic about their experiences abroad and about these programs,” Jacobsen said. Photos of Jacobsen’s visits are below:
In Paris, Bruno Clément, professor of French literature at Paris 8; Jeff Rider, professor of French at Wesleyan; and Joyce Jacobsen gathered at Reid Hall, the longtime center for the Vassar-Wesleyan Program in Paris. The faculty met with Wesleyan students, host families and professors, and celebrated the upcoming retirement Christine Reno, current resident director and professor of French and francophone studies at Vassar.
Joyce Jacobsen, the Andrews Professor of Economics, will become dean of the Division of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Programs beginning July 1 for three years. Jacobsen brings to this role substantial experience in Wesleyan’s faculty governance process, having served as chair of the faculty, chair of the Educational Policy Committee, chair of the Economics Department, co-chair of the College of Social Studies, vice-chair of the Review and Appeals Board, and on the governing board of the Center for the Study of Public Life.
A scholar of the economics of gender and employment, she is author, co-author, and editor of three books, more than 35 journal articles and book chapters, and more than 45 essays and reviews.
Jacobsen has taught at Wesleyan for 20 years, and won the Binswanger Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2007.
Pictured in the front, at right, Joyce Jacobsen, the Andrews Professor of Economics, tutor in the College of Social Studies, visited with Wesleyan alumni and parents in three countries. In March, she met with guests in Hong Kong, China and presented a talk on “Economist Circumnavigates the Globe: Thoughts on the World Economy.” The group met for dinner afterwards.
Commenting in a piece for The National Journal, Joyce Jacobsen, Andrews Professor of Economics and Co-Chair, College of Social Studies, discusses how the recent recession has resulted in more men losing their jobs as a percentage of the labor force than women. The so-called ‘Mancession’ has occurred despite the fact that, before the economic downturn, men and women had nearly equal rates of unemployment (approximately 4.4%). But since then, in excess of 10% of men are now unemployed but women are at 7.7%.