We are very excited to welcome back Dr. Douglas Baker (Department of Education, Ph.D. ‘01) to campus to give the first Gevirtz School Alumni Lecture during All Gaucho Reunion on Friday, April 26th at 4 pm in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB. During his talk, Doug will explore invisible lessons he experienced at UCSB and how they informed his teaching and leadership. Baker is currently a professor in the English Education program at Eastern Michigan University. We were lucky to have him answer a few questions in advance of his lecture.
GGSE: You began your career as a classroom teacher in Fresno, CA. What motivated you to work towards your Ph.D.?
Baker: Once I began teaching high school I knew a Ph.D. might be in my future, especially because I felt committed to the students and recognized there was much more to learn. As a classroom teacher I experienced challenges of observing and assessing students’ progress, of responding to their work, of grading, of mentoring, etc. After eleven years in secondary classrooms—and my experiences with the local site of the National Writing Project—I was ready for the challenge of UCSB’s doctoral program and the possibilities it offered.
GGSE: What do you enjoy most about your current position as Associate Dean of Programming for the College of Arts & Sciences at Eastern Michigan?
Baker: As Associate Dean of CAS, I have the opportunity to work with department heads and faculty across disciplines and colleges and to contribute to the design of curricula. With 18 departments, CAS is the core of a liberal arts education at EMU, traditionally a Normal Training School for teachers. The enormous pressure on public education, particularly how it is funded, has invigorated the university to reimagine its mission in efforts to prepare students for their futures, and ours. I value the commitment we are all making toward a sustainable, regional institution.
GGSE: What do you do for fun outside of work?
Baker: For enjoyment I read across a wide range of topics, especially baseball history, go for long walks, and spend time with my wife and family.