Laurence J. Jacobs has been selected as Georgia Tech’s senior vice provost for Education and Learning (SVP-EL) in the newly established office. As SVP-EL, Jacobs’ primary objective will be to lead the Institute’s strategic initiative to define and implement a transformative learning strategy that builds on the foundations of established successful programs. He will elevate student success, education, and learning while also providing dedicated strategic leadership for graduate, postdoctoral, and undergraduate education through the direct supervision of administrative and support services provided by the offices of Undergraduate Education, Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, and the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). He will also serve on the President’s Cabinet. Jacobs will assume his new role Feb. 14.
Jacobs currently serves as professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs in Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering (COE). He is responsible for all undergraduate, graduate, and international academic programs in the COE. He has been a leader in undergraduate curricular reform that emphasizes multidisciplinary design, innovation, problem-based learning, and interdisciplinary minors. He was a champion for the establishment of CREATE-X plus four distinct, new student-run maker spaces.
Jacobs is a professor in both the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering (by courtesy). Since joining Tech’s faculty in 1988, he has served twice as interim dean for the College of Engineering. He is a fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He serves as chair of the Institute Academic Restart Committee, a team of faculty, staff, and students charged with addressing challenges and developing solutions to ensure academic excellence throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Throughout his Georgia Tech career Larry Jacobs has demonstrated an inclusive leadership style based on collaboration and service,” said Steve McLaughlin, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs. “A strategic and innovative thinker, he is able to see the big picture while putting people first, taking time to respond to the needs of individual students, faculty, and staff. He has the unique skill set, including people skills, to lead a shared vision and create a transformational learning strategy at Georgia Tech.”
Jacobs’ leadership includes serving as a steering committee member on the Commission on Creating the Next in Education. He is one of the faculty advisors for three Georgia Tech student chapters, the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society, the Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Leadership Society, and the Order of the Engineer.
Honors at Tech include his selection for the Georgia Tech Chapter of Sigma Xi Best Faculty Paper Award, the Freshman Partner of the Year Award for the Freshman Experience, and the Faculty Excellence Award from Women in Engineering. He received the ANAK Award given to a faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the Institute and the student body through teaching, research, advisement, and general involvement in campus life. Jacobs is a recipient of the Class of 1940 W. Roane Beard Outstanding Teacher Award. Jacobs is the SPIE (Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers) 2019 NDE (non-destructive evaluation) Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead this talented and committed team as we work to transform the educational experience for our students,” said Larry Jacobs. “The first value in our strategic plan is that students are our top priority. At Georgia Tech we already have so many strengths that will provide a solid framework as we help to bring our Institute’s strategic plan to life, while enriching the lives of our students.”
Jacobs’ research is student focused and actively involves both graduate and undergraduate students. His work involves the development of quantitative methodologies for the nondestructive evaluation and life prediction of structural materials, including the application of nonlinear ultrasound for the characterization of fatigue, creep, stress-corrosion, thermal embrittlement, microcracking, and radiation damage in metals and cement-based materials. His research is multidisciplinary, and he collaborates with colleagues across the Institute, the U.S. and around the world.
Jacobs earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lafayette College, an M.S in Civil Engineering from Polytechnic Institute of New York, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Columbia University. Before his current position, he served as associate chair for Undergraduate Programs in CEE. Prior to joining Georgia Tech, he worked as a staff engineer for Grumman Aerospace Corporation, and as a structural engineer with Ammann & Whitney Consulting Engineers, both in New York.
“I would like to express our gratitude to the faculty, staff, and students who served on the search committee for this position, with a special thanks to Mitchell L. R. Walker II, professor and associate chair for Graduate Programs in the School of Aerospace Engineering, for serving as its chair,” said Steve McLaughlin.