As chair, Baker will teach both graduate and undergraduate classes with a focus on kindergarten to Grade 12 education, particularly for the Indian Teacher Education Program (ITEP), which is designed for First Nations students interested in teaching. He will also work collaboratively with the Aboriginal Education Research Centre developing community partnerships and driving research that will create conditions for academic success, strengthen community and positively influence future generations of teachers and students.
"I will continue building relationships with Indigenous peoples locally, nationally and internationally, with the goal of establishing research partnerships designed to improve the educational experiences of all students. I am particularly interested in the critical areas of educational leadership, science education and early childhood education," said Baker.
Baker returned to the U of S having earned his Bachelor of Education through the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program at the College of Education, then completed his internship at a high school in New Zealand and credits the cross-cultural experience of living and working abroad, for inspiring him to return to graduate school. His Ph.D. studies focus on Indigenous science education.
"We were looking for a candidate who not only had exceptional research skills, but also one who has strong connections with Indigenous communities," said Bob Regnier, acting dean of the College of Education. "We wanted this chair to have the ability to bring people together and to build closer connections between the university, its Indigenous students and our school divisions. Jeff is the ideal candidate and we are thrilled he has accepted the position."
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Advancement and Community Engagement