TACOMA, Wash. – Uchenna Baker has been named the new vice president for student affairs and dean of students at University of Puget Sound, following an extensive and highly competitive national search. She will assume the position on July 17, 2018.
Baker comes to Puget Sound from Elon University in North Carolina, where she currently serves as assistant dean of campus life and director of residence life. Her extensive experience in student life includes previous roles at University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Utica College (New York); and Rutgers University (New Jersey). She earned an M.Ed. in counseling psychology and a B.A. in English and sociology, both from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in educational policy with a focus on urban education through a joint program of Rutgers University and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
“Uchenna will bring excellent leadership skills, collaborative student affairs practices, and student-centered perspectives to our campus,” said Provost Kristine Bartanen. “We look forward to welcoming her to Puget Sound this summer, and working with her to continue to support student success at Puget Sound.”
In her new role, Baker will be responsible for the overall vision and leadership for student affairs and will ensure coordination of programs and services, assessment, and planning. Reporting to the provost, she also will build partnerships and create more synergies with academic affairs colleagues to enhance the comprehensive student experience at Puget Sound. As a member of the President’s Cabinet, she will work closely with President Isiaah Crawford and play an integral role in the development and implementation of the liberal arts college’s new student-centered strategic plan.
“I am truly excited to join the University of Puget Sound,” Baker said. “This university is known for its commitment to student success and I am honored to be able to work alongside such a remarkable group of educators. I look forward to becoming part of an extraordinary leadership team and continuing Puget Sound’s great legacy as a college that changes lives.”
Throughout her career Baker has served in numerous professional capacities, including as a teacher of college courses on leadership, research, and first-year seminars; and presenter at professional associations and workshops on topics including belonging, attachment, and identification at college; transformative leadership; academic-residential integration; democratic practices in the classroom; and student contributions to social justice, diversity, and inclusion.
Baker joins Puget Sound during an exciting period in which the university draws an ever more accomplished and diverse student body from across the United States and abroad, and has engaged in new partnerships and initiatives to enhance the college as a welcoming and accessible place for students. These have included the Tacoma Public Schools Commitment, which meets the full demonstrated financial need of graduates from local high schools; the Access Programs Cohort Initiative, which supports the college aspirations of first-generation and underrepresented students who take part in the college’s Access Programs; the introduction of a test-optional admission policy; and a partnership with The Posse Foundation.
Press photos of Uchenna Baker can be downloaded from pugetsound.edu/pressphotos.
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