The search for Eastern’s provost and vice president for academic affairs ended with the selection of John Baker, Ph.D. Mason will travel from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse where he is currently the dean of the College of Liberal Studies, to fill the provost position, vacant at Eastern since June of 2005.
Although Mason’s term doesn’t begin until July 1, he is excited to be heading back to Washington. “I miss the mountains,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of my time in Washington; it’s kind of like coming home.”
Baker is looking forward to the challenge of starting a new job in a new place. “The first and foremost goal I have is to become as informed about the university as possible,” he said, adding that he will be learning about the culture of the university from faculty, students and community members.
Once he has familiarized himself with the culture and environment at Eastern, he can begin to effectively plan for the future, which is his second goal as Eastern’s new provost. He said he has been studying up on Eastern and the issues currently associated with the university.
“I’ve been in higher education for 30 years, 17 of those as a faculty member,” said Baker, when asked about his prior experience. “I am familiar with the kind of institution that Eastern is. Most of the challenges are ones that I’ve dealt with before.”
He spent 10 years as a faculty member teaching journalism at Youngstown State University in Ohio. He was the adviser for the student paper, not surprising since he was also editor of his college paper while a student at the University of Northern Colorado.
He is most looking forward to “getting to know everybody and getting involved on a personal level.” Baker said he enjoys participating in campus activities and is looking forward to becoming a part of the Eastern community.
The final decision to appoint Baker to the provost position was made by Eastern’s president, Rodolfo ArÃ©valo, although a search committee comprised of Eastern faculty and administration members was also involved.
“They’ve been looking for a long time,” said Dave Meany, media and campaign communications specialist at Eastern. “They felt he was the best fit for the university based on his experience.”