Former Emeritus College dean looks back

For the past three years, Richard Jacob has been putting in 20 hours a week – and sometimes more – as the Founding Dean of the Emeritus College. <p>Jacob will relinquish the deanship June 30, but he won&#39;t give up his workload.</p><separator></separator><p>Jacob will begin focusing on raising funds for a $1 million endowment for the college, which, he says, will ensure that it carries on its mission for many years to come.</p><separator></separator><p>While others may have had the idea for an Emeritus College , Jacob was the one who wrote the first letter to President Crow in February 2003 suggesting such a college at ASU.</p><separator></separator><p>Once President Crow gave the go-ahead, Jacob began meeting with members of ASU&#39;s faculty emeriti association, and in June 2004, the steering committee sent a plan for the college to Crow and Provost Milt Glick.</p><separator></separator><p>The opening convocation was July 8, 2005. And it&#39;s been a whirlwind ever since.</p><separator></separator><p>In looking back on his term as Founding Dean, Jacob said there had been some surprises along the way.</p><separator></separator><p>According to the original plans, the college would have centers focusing on interest areas such as issues in K-12 education, mentoring, ASU history, fine arts and writing, among other topics, and have about 200 members.</p><separator></separator><p>So far, K-12, mentoring, ASU history and fine arts have not materialized, Jacob said, but writing has proven to be a popular activity. “I have been surprised at the intensity of interest in creative writing. Many emeritus faculty and spouses are participating in writing and reading groups.</p><separator></separator><p>“I thought some of our original ideas would develop faster,” Jacob said, “but things have gone much better than anyone expected, and everyone is very happy.”</p><separator></separator><p>Membership was another surprise. The steering committee planned for approximately 200, but it&#39;s hovering around 300, where Jacob thinks it will stay.</p><separator></separator><p>One of the college&#39;s first major projects was an art exhibit at the University Center Building at the new Downtown Phoenix campus.</p><separator></separator><p>Debra Friedman, dean of the College of Public Programs , told Jacob last summer that the building would have “nothing but bare walls,” and asked if he could get some work by emeriti faculty to hang.</p><separator></separator><p>“I knew of two faculty who were ‘avocational artists,&#39;” Jacob said. “I asked them who else would be interested, and they started ticking off names. We ended up with 160 pieces.”</p><separator></separator><p>The college also inaugurated a colloquia series, and a short-talks luncheon series where several faculty members give informal presentations.</p><separator></separator><p>The next big project is the Emeritus College journal Emeritus Voices to be edited by Charles Brownson, a retired ASU librarian, and published by the Emeritus Press.</p><separator></separator><p>The journal&#39;s first issue will be published in October, and it will come out twice a year.</p><separator></separator><p>“Although it will primarily be a literary journal, it also will publish articles and essays of general interest, graphic art and other items representative of the creativity of the college&#39;s emeriti and emeritae,” Jacob said.</p><separator></separator><p>The journal will be published in electronic form, but printed copies will be available by subscription.</p><separator></separator><p>The Emeritus Press also will begin publishing longer works under its own imprimatur, also electronically, with hard copies available at the author&#39;s expense.</p><separator></separator><p>Another new major project is the college&#39;s Academy for Continued Learning, which has teamed with the City of Tempe Community Services department to offer non-credit, college-level courses at the Tempe Library. The first five courses are scheduled for this fall.</p><separator></separator><p>Jacob said he has no regrets about devoting so much of his time for the past few years to the Emeritus College – without a paycheck.</p><separator></separator><p>“It&#39;s been a lot of fun, and it&#39;s provided a lot of happiness to a lot of people. They are grateful for being recognized again,” Jacob said of the members.</p>