Prof. Jacobs taught a variety of seminar and lecture classes throughout his career; their sizes ranged from as small as 8 to over 300. Among his regular offering were:
- a graduate course – Land Use Policy and Planning – which focused on the policy alternatives available to local governments to manage privately owned land and land markets (e.g. zoning, transfer of development rights, conservation easements, etc.);
- an undergraduate course – Government and Natural Resources – which focused on the philosophical, legal and policy aspects of government’s role in natural resource management;
- an undergraduate course – Green Politics: European Reality, American Prospect? – an European-American comparison focused on how environmental issues are brought to public attention (their advocacy) and the policies developed to address them.
In addition, Prof. Jacobs regularly taught Introduction to Planning for the in-coming students to the graduate program in urban and regional planning which exposed them to the history, institutions, and key issues in the discipline, and Planning Thought and Practice, a final semester class for the graduate students in urban and regional planning designed to synthesize their graduate and internship experiences prior to their taking up professional practice.
For over 30 years Prof. Jacobs’ courses have been assessed at the highest level (between 4.5 and 5 on a 5 point scale). And his students regularly offered unsolicited accolades. A sample from the 2017 graduate students in his Land Use Policy and Planning class include the following:
- “you did a great job of presenting the material in an interesting and engaging way and were good at clarifying anything the class was confused about.”
- “Harvey is a great professor – probably one of the best I’ve ever had.”
- “this . . . was one of the most enjoyable classes I have had throughout my whole college career.”
- “Prof. Jacobs is the epitome of a great educator, he loves to provide clarity and examples and has a good sense of humor about it all.”
- “Professor Jacobs . . . is an excellent lecturer and instructor and among the finest professors I have had the pleasure of learning with at UW-Madison, as an undergrad or grad student.”
- “Harvey is the perfect person to teach this material and it is clear that he is an expert on the matters that we discussed.”
Similar laudatory comments have been received when Prof. Jacobs taught short and intensive courses to a global community of practitioners through the International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training, Taoyuan, Taiwan (annually, 1994-2015), and in the MSc in Urban Management and Development Program at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands (annually since 2006), and with graduate students in the Master of Public Policy Program at the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru, India (since 2014).
Prof. Jacobs firmly believes there is no conflict between being a knowledgeable and effective teacher and being a productive and impactful researcher, and that teaching and research can and should be mutually reinforcing activities.