Dawn Ellen Jacobs: building up new faculty at CBU on a biblical foundation
Riverside, Calif. (July 6, 2017)—Before new faculty members at California Baptist University even set foot on campus there are a number of individuals already planning for their success.
Dr. Dawn Ellen Jacobs is one of those persons.
“One of the joys of my work is to collaborate with the new faculty that we are hiring,” said Jacobs, CBU veteran of 26 years. “Not only are we hiring excellent scholars who are academically prepared but they are committed to serving and want to be in the classroom, and they want to impact students’ lives.”
For the past 12 years, Jacobs has served as the associate provost of faculty development, helping new faculty develop and transition into their roles at CBU. This fall, Jacobs will be transitioning into a full-time teaching position in the department of modern languages and literature; however, she also will remain a key person in faculty development by taking on the role of director of new faculty development.
Jacobs said that the number of faculty has grown significantly in correlation to the enrollment boom CBU has experienced during the past decade. Stepping away from the provost position and transitioning into the director role will help her devote more time and energy to the growing faculty development needs.
Jacobs has been instrumental in developing programs that help new faculty members become accustomed to CBU.
For instance, all new faculty members attend as a cohort The Seminar on Faith and Academic Profession at CBU. The seminar is designed to support the faculty throughout their first year. The group meets for an initial two-day workshop in August and then they meet every two weeks throughout the academic year along with day workshops in January and May. The seminar, which Jacobs helped launch a decade ago, also helps facilitate faculty members’ biblical worldview formation.
“These seminars offer our instructors a good baseline for where they are in their biblical worldview,” Jacobs said. “It also offers a way where we can identify areas for improvement. We want to support them in their spiritual life.”
A biblical worldview is relevant to CBU students, Jacobs said, because they desire a connection from their faith to the real world.
“‘How does my faith play out in the world?’ This concept is something our students are asking about more and more: ‘What does my field of study have to do with my faith and my desire to serve,’” said Jacobs, reflecting on questions she has heard from students at CBU. “Faculty at CBU need to have the answers to these questions.”
Jacobs said that CBU is intentional in its biblical worldview training. The seminar is run as a class. Instructors have a safe space to ask questions and to have dialogue for what a biblical worldview means, Jacobs added.
“What I appreciate at CBU is the community of believers we have, who are always challenged to grow in understanding. I don’t have all the answers; I don’t have a magic bag. However the Bible teaches us that iron sharpens iron,” Jacobs said.
Dr. Charles Sands, CBU provost and vice president, said he is pleased that Jacobs will continue to oversee new faculty development.
“Dr. Jacobs has served this institution with energy, professionalism and a very strong sense of purpose for the last 26 years,” Sands said. “We are fortunate that as she transitions out of administration, she will still maintain a vital role in developing our new faculty moving forward."