Interim Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs: Dr. Jennifer Summit


Dear SF State Community,

One of the enduring traits of a strong and bold university is the deep reservoir of talent found among students, faculty, staff and administrators.   Seeking an individual who could step in and serve the university as the interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs involved not only looking nationally at available talent, but also reviewing who, among those on campus, could step forward to lead the academic division.  I am pleased to report that this important and key position will be filled by our own Dr. Jennifer Summit.  Her appointment will begin September 1, 2016.  I expect this appointment to last one year or until a permanent appointment occurs from a national search.

Dr. Summit has led a most productive team within Academic Affairs.  In her short time, her leadership has brought a new vision to undergraduate education, academic advising, student success, curriculum development and the intellectual and social development of our students.  These areas will be essential to meeting the Graduation Initiative benchmarks expected of us by the Chancellor and the legislature.  Her insight into our best strengths and our commitment to students will be critical to sustaining and improving our effort during the coming months.  A few of her career highlights will acquaint you with her abilities and accomplishments.

  • Dr. Summit started at Stanford, where she earned tenure and taught for nearly twenty years in the English Department (earning three teaching awards).
  • She is a widely-published scholar of medieval and early modern English Literature, with major fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Modern Language Association.
  • At Stanford, she served as Department Chair and in leadership and administrative positions focused on faculty teaching excellence, academic program review, curriculum, and tenure and promotion.
  • At San Jose State she served as an A.C.E. Fellow with a special focus on university leadership and student success.
  • At San Francisco State, she has led the creation of the new Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning, which includes general education, writing in the disciplines and writing across the curriculum, student academic support and advising, curriculum development, student learning assessment, the Metro College Success Program, and the Institute for Civic and Community Engagement.
  • Dr. Summit has led initiatives supporting student academic achievement and success in the majors:
    • “Faculty-led curriculum design in the majors” (supported by the Teagle Foundation) has helped 20 academic programs and scores of faculty across the university design curricula to support student academic achievement and progress;
    • “Causeways,” a pre-major structured pathway (supported by the Keck Foundation), brings together faculty and programs from COSE and HSS to support students in the lower division.

I expect Dr. Summit to lead Academic Affairs within the bright light of our strategic plan.  This University has much to do this coming year.  I am confident that we will achieve much with Dr. Summit’s leadership.  Join me in welcoming Dr. Summit to her new appointment.


Les Wong