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Meet the Deans

Matt Neves and Dax Jacobson walking on the Westminster red bridge

Westminster welcomes Dean Dax Jacobson and Dean Matt Neves

by Kevin Randall (MSC '22)

In the past year, Westminster University welcomed two new deans: Dax Jacobson, Dean of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business, and Matt Neves, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  Deans play an important role in leading their schools and enhancing the academic experience for students. 

Dean Jacobson has worked at Westminster as a professor of management since 2015, and served as the interim dean of the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business from July 2021 to January 2023, when he was appointed as dean. He earned his PhD in business administration with an emphasis on management information systems from Bentley University.

Dean Neves has an MBA from Illinois State University and an MFA in acting from the University of Exeter. Previously, he was the director of instruction for the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, along with many previous director positions.

We sat down with Deans Jacobson and Neves to learn more about their vision and goals for their schools.

Dax Jacobson 

What can students expect when earning a degree at the Bill and Vieve Gore School of Business (BVGSB)?

Students can expect to have access to a traditional suite of business majors and minors, but what sets us apart is applied learning, with a focus on business literacy and community engagement, and faculty members who get to know their students. More specifically, we are moving to a model where every student will have a paid experience related to business literacy in the community and every student will have access to a mentor.

How is the business program preparing students to adapt to an ever-changing industry?

We're focusing on business literacy: the idea that regardless of your major, role, job, or industry, you need to be able to understand the basics of business—from financial literacy to entrepreneurism. Understanding these basics will allow students to adapt and contribute to their community. 

What experiences and opportunities are students given to apply what they’ve learned outside the classroom?

We are seeing real traction in BVGSB, across campus, and in the community. Over the last couple of years, we’ve worked through programs such as VITA, Gore Consulting, and our two different CO-OP partner programs: Salt Lake County and Promise South Salt Lake. We teach the theory, the frameworks, and the tools; and then we get students out in the community learning by doing (and in many cases learning by teaching), while refining and reflecting on the values that matter to them, to us, and to our community members. 

Where would you like to see the school in three to five years?

First, we need to get to the point where we really can say that every single student has a paid opportunity around business literacy in our community and that every single student has a mentor. I’d also like to see us as a more active participant and builder in our entrepreneurial ecosystem and to get more people involved. We’re developing plans for that now, but we’ll need help, so please reach out if you’re interested in becoming a mentor. 

Matt Neves

What can students expect when earning an arts and sciences degree at Westminster University? 

Westminster empowers students to make the best choices for themselves and to choose the best paths to career development. It focuses on the best ways to open minds and the best avenues for individual growth. The College of Arts and Sciences strives to guide students by offering different, exciting options and then helps them chart paths towards personal success. An extremely passionate and experienced faculty and a dedicated staff help promote this creative environment. The college has over 35 programs in many traditional academic areas. Students can expect a dynamic experience with lots of freedom to move towards their educational, career, and life goals. 

How does a degree in arts and sciences prepare students for a career in a high-tech world? 

Well, I may ask, how does it not? Westminster faculty are constantly evolving and developing courses that respond to the world. Preparing students for a digital world may be obvious in areas such as computer science and communication, but arts and sciences programs such as theatre, political science, and chemistry are also adapting to changes in the outside world that demand technological expertise. Doing so prepares students for future careers and the present challenges they face every day in their communities. 

What experiences and opportunities are students given to apply what they’ve learned outside the classroom? 

Whether it’s our student musicians performing in ensembles and recitals, our student scientists conducting research in laboratories or in the field, our student educators changing young lives in public schools, or our outdoor education leadership students exploring the mountains or national parks, almost every arts and sciences program activates learning by engaging students outside the classroom. 

Where would you like to see the college in three to five years? 

The word is getting out about the individual attention and innovative approaches we offer to well-prepared and motivated students. Aside from the academic rigor, Westminster strives to be a welcoming, inclusive environment that accepts students where they are and challenges them to reach beyond what they think is possible. I hope that the College of Arts and Sciences can carry that standard throughout all we do and truly live up to that ideal. I hope to instill an atmosphere of collegial teamwork, shared vision, and true equity and inclusion as we move into the near future.



About the Westminster Review

The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.