Baker Proud Summer 2018 - 5

BAKER PROUD | Summer 2018 	

Longtime faculty member named dean


ast fall Baker University embarked
on the search for a
dean of the College
of Arts and Sciences. After a
national search, the committee
discovered that its new dean
had been on campus all along.
After 20 years of teaching in
the Department of Biology and
Chemistry at Baker University,
Dr. Darcy Russell, '80, will step into her new role July 1.
Russell is a respected Baker University alumna, tenured professor, and seasoned mentor. For the past five
years, she has served as chairwoman of the Department
of Biology and Chemistry. She remains involved in her
sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, through the National Panhellenic
Conference and has received numerous awards that recognize her teaching ability.
Having dedicated 20 years to teaching at Baker University, Russell has developed a strong admiration for Baker
University and its people.
"[Becoming dean] is just another way to serve Baker,
the students, and my colleagues," she said. "I am excited
about the opportunity. My goal is to be the support and advocacy system for the faculty. A champion for the faculty.
Someone who is on their team."
Russell will replace the interim dean, Martha
Harris, '79, MLA '14.

"I am extremely grateful to Martha Harris for serving
as the interim dean of CAS for the last few years," Baker
University President Lynne Murray said. "I have complete
confidence that Dr. Russell will excel and thrive as our new
dean. Dr. Russell's passion for Baker University and our
students, coupled with her extensive leadership experience
will help the university achieve even greater heights."
Russell believes the role of dean is to provide faculty a
conduit for communication and support.
"Serving as dean is being a bridge between the president and the faculty. Someone who advocates for the faculty and, for young faculty, mentors, guides, and provides
feedback," she said.
Russell is a people person, which is one of the reasons
she is at Baker instead of a larger school. She wants to get
to know the individual and help him or her succeed.
"To me, it is people who are important," she said. "The
reason I am at Baker is that I wanted to be in a small
school. I really wanted to teach and help students reach
their goals. And I wanted to know who they were. I know I
will miss teaching. I hope, eventually, I can fit a class back
into my schedule."
Above all, Russell is excited about the change.
"I am excited about the whole thing," she said. "I am
excited to learn new things and attempt new challenges.
I love change. I think that is a reason why I like teaching.
Year after year there are new students, new faces, and
new courses to teach. That is also why I love science: It is
always progressing."

Forum allows community to share ideas
Baker is special.

That was the primary message behind the May 1 Strategic Planning Forum. The university, faculty, and staff and
its students are all special.
For the past three years, the Baker community has
engaged in multiple brainstorming and planning sessions
to lay the groundwork for the next strategic plan. Led by
Baker University Board of Trustees Chairman Gordon
Lansford, III, '93, the task at this forum was to involve a
wider audience in brainstorming potential solutions to keep
Baker and its graduates performing at the top of their game.
Attendees represented all aspects of the university. Professors, coaches, staff members, alumni, and Dr. Murray
all participated in this working session. Topics of discussion included student retention, modern learning methods, and increasing the financial viability of the university.
Martha Harris, '79, MLA '14, interim dean of the
College of Arts and Sciences, who was Lansford's professor

during his student
days at Baker, felt the
forum was an excellent way to collaborate with others.
"My favorite part
of the event was
having an opportunity
Gordon Lansford facilitates discussion to sit at the table with
faculty and staff from
across several schools," Harris said. "This gave us a chance
to talk about things that make Baker special and ways we
can share the Baker experience with even more students."
The work done at the forum will help to chart the
course for Baker's future as part of the Strategic Plan 2022.
The committee will welcome feedback over the summer
and convene again in the fall, kicking off the new academic year with a new strategic focus.



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