Share Tweet Share Email

Top 25 of 2013: A new leader for critical times

December 30, 2013
Douglas D. Baker and Dana L. Stover

Douglas D. Baker and Dana L. Stover

As 2013 draws to a close, NIU Today offers a look back at 25 of the top stories from the year.

No. 1

Douglas D. Baker – an award-winning professor of business, proven high-level administrator and scholar of management and leadership in higher education – was named the 12th president of Northern Illinois University.

The 58-year-old Baker, the now-former provost and executive vice president at the University of Idaho, set up shop in Altgeld Hall in late June. He officially took the NIU reins July 1.

An expert in organizational strategy, structure and motivation, Baker is working to bring NIU to the fore as a national model for a 21st century public university.

Since he and First Lady Dana Stover arrived, the president has established a mantra of “Bold Futures: Student Career Success,” made several significant hires and, in October, announced a reorganization of the university.

That same month, he launched a series of “Bold Futures” workshops to provide information on NIU performance and established priorities and goals; align participants from across the university toward a common purpose; and assist in the formation of professional relationships across disciplines, job types and cultures.

NIU President Doug Baker speaks during his Nov. 13 inauguration.During his Nov. 13 inauguration, he unveiled a bold plan for the university’s future, saying that he will work to dramatically expand internship opportunities, try to match every student with an alumni mentor and endeavor to ensure that every graduate is employed within six months of graduation.

The ceremony featured personal testimonials, dramatic interpretations and videos about NIU students and their success.

“It is a critical time for higher education in this country. The world around us has changed much more rapidly and decisively than it has within our halls,” Baker told the audience of his belief that college should prepare students to thrive in all facets of life.

“A university focused on student career success provides students with a deep and meaningful body of knowledge to help them succeed in their careers. It is not a vocational school … but rather an institution that stresses creativity, communication and critical-thinking skills.”