About Me

jamesajacobs.com

About Me

Since 1976, I have been teaching at Diablo Valley College, a community college near Berkeley, CA where I live. I served as chairman of the Journalism department from 1976 to 1986, but I have taught English ever since, specializing in American Literature, Developmental Composition, and Critical Thinking.

The DVC student newspaper which I advised won 10 All-American ratings from  Associated Collegiate Press. I have also been nominated five times to Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Students nominate the teacher/professor who they most admired after completing their undergraduate college/university education.

I earned three degrees from Syracuse University: B.A. (English), M.A. (Newspaper Journalism, Newhouse Communications Center), and M.S.S. (Interdisciplinary Social Science, Maxwell School of Public Affairs).

While a graduate student, I taught English at Onondaga Community College and Cultural Anthropology at Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.

I hold a lifetime California Community College Teaching Credential in three areas: Anthropology, Social Science, and Communications.

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I have written numerous articles for newspapers and magazines, worked as a general assignment and police reporter (Rochester N.Y. Times-Union) and stringer (United Press International, Mexico City), and publicist (Loew’s Hotels, New York, N.Y.). I also co-founded SALT, a city news magazine, Syracuse, N.Y. and was editor of the Glenville Democrat, Glenville, W.Va.

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In high school, I played end on three Syracuse championship football teams (Nottingham High School) and was named All City (right end) my senior year. I also played football two years at St. Lawrence University, one year (USMC), and one year of lacrosse at Syracuse University. In addition, I was awarded a Black Belt (Jo Kyo Nym) in Kuk Sool, the Royal Court Korean martial art. In addition, I served as a rifleman in the United States Marine Corps, honorable discharge 1965.

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I was born and grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. where I attended P.S. 81. It was a community steeped in the lore of the Iroquois Empire, especially the Seneca Nation, keepers of the western door. At age 13, my parents decided to move back to their hometown, Syracuse, where the Iroquois is headquartered at the Onondaga Nation. My mother, Mary King Jacobs, grew up in a proud West End Irish neighborhood famous for its traffic signal (green on top, red on bottom). Her father was hired from Pittsburgh to be a pourer for the then-new company, Crucible Steel. My father, David Jacobs, grew up in a lower East Side Jewish neighborhood (The Ward) and on a small farm in rural LaFayette, owned by his father, Jake Jacobs, an immigrant from Vilna, Lithuania. David was a famous athlete (football, basketball, boxing) who matriculated at Vocational High School and for one year at The Manlius School. He was awarded a scholarship to Carson-Newman College where he played football and then returned home to begin a professional boxing career, culminating in the heavyweight championship of New York State. I am the only survivor in my immediate family (mother, father, sister Virginia ‘Ginny’ Bugin, and brother Robert). I am married to Susan Springer, a renowned clothing designer (Silver Wings) and landscape designer and nursery owner (Susan’s Succulents) who was also a famous dancer (Indonesian Royal Court) in the San Francisco Bay Area. Susan’s family lives mainly in the Washington, D.C. area. Her mother was a school teacher and her father a psychologist (U.S. N., Lt. Commander, and Veteran’s Administration). Both are deceased.

James A. Jacobs
Jjacobs@dvc.edu
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