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MSU's Long-Time Administrator Awarded University Leadership Chair

Dr. Jim Baker is awarded University Leadership Chair by MSU's Board of Governors at a retreat earlier this month. Photo credit:

In response to President Clif Smart’s recommendation, the Missouri State University Board of Governors announced that Dr. Jim Baker, the school’s vice president for research and economic development and international programs, is honored as the University’s Leadership Chair. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark has more.


Established in 2008, the award is set up so that the board can grant the endowed chair to a member of the school’s central administration who demonstrates quality leadership skills. The only other person who’s ever received the award was former university president Michael T. Nietzel, who held the designation from 2008-10.

The board picked Dr. Baker as the second recipient of the award during a recent retreat at the beginning of this month. The designation is for two years and comes with a $2,500 per year supplemental pay-hike. The award, though prestigious, also works as a recruitment tool to attract other quality administrators, according to Baker.

“The chair is largely a symbolic kind of thing; it’s not going to really change what I do. I think it’s more of a recognition for the work that’s taken place. It enables me to spend a little bit more time focusing on the international aspects, so that’s what I’ll take advantage of,” said Baker.

Baker has worked for 20 years developing and expanding MSU’s international programs. He says still, after two decades, he’s passionate about public affairs and getting students connected with a global world.

“Missouri State is becoming much more diverse, and I think that’s a very positive and good thing, so we continue to move forward,” said Baker.

In addition to his university duties, Baker was appointed to the Missouri Technology Corporation by Governor Jay Nixon. He also stands as the director of the Springfield Center for Excellence in Life Sciences and is member of the board for Mercy Medical Research Institute, Inc.

In his recent issue of Clif’s Notes, President Smart writes that Baker played a part in developing the Jordan Valley Innovation Center and IDEA Commons, an urban research park that works to bring together MSU, local corporations, lofts, non-profits and retail space to downtown Springfield.

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark.