News

NEWS RELEASE
May 24, 2010
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

JakeBucher

Sociology professor receives Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching

Baldwin City, Kan. — Jacob Bucher, an assistant professor of sociology at Baker University, received the Jennie Howell Kopke and Verda R. Kopke Award for Distinguished Teaching during Sunday’s commencement ceremonies at the Collins Center.

The award recognizes a faculty member, without regard to rank or years of service, who has a record of excellence in teaching and in transforming students into scholars, who brings honor to the University and who exhibits good moral character. Recipients also receive a $5,000 cash award.

“I feel incredibly honored to be selected,” said Bucher, a 2002 Baker graduate. “I came to Baker because it values teaching. To have my teaching valued by such an institution is fulfilling and humbling.”

Charles Kopke, a longtime supporter of higher education, established the award in 1998 to honor his mother and late wife.

“To be able to receive the award from Mr. Kopke and to shake his hand was a great honor given all he has done for Baker,” Bucher said. “Thank you to Mr. Kopke, President Pat Long and Dean Rand Ziegler for the award, and to the Baker students who make me want to do what I do.”

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Baker University is committed to student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.

 

NEWS RELEASE
May 21, 2010
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

School of Education profile: Doctoral student overcomes odds to obtain degree

Baldwin City, Kan. — Told in middle school that her chances for success would be limited because of a speech impediment, Cynthia Johnson relied on faith and determination to complete her journey as a doctoral student at Baker University.CynthiaJohnson

“This educational experience has been especially empowering for me,” said Johnson, principal at Grandview (Mo.) Middle School. “People may say I can’t do something, but I know I can make it, if God says I can.”

Johnson will be among eight Baker University doctoral students who will receive their Doctorate of Education degrees during the 4:30 p.m. commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 23, at the Collins Center.

Identified as a special education student because of her stuttering, Johnson overcame long odds and doubters. Known affectionately as “Mama J” because of her caring nature and outgoing personality, Johnson now considers herself an educator, researcher, keynote speaker, author, motivator and hope restorer.

“I knew early on in my life that education was going to be an opportunity to have access to other things in life and be the great equalizer, regardless of your walk of life,” said Johnson, now comfortable speaking in front of thousands of people.

After she completed her dissertation in February, Johnson made a phone call to Ken Bell, the one teacher who believed in her at Warrensburg (Mo.) Middle School.

“Ken Bell transformed my life,” she said. “He encouraged me to become involved in speech, debate and forensics. I thought he was crazy at first because I stuttered, sat back in class and didn’t talk much … and I got nervous when I had to go to the chalkboard.”

Because of Bell’s belief in the young student, Johnson learned that a positive relationship between a teacher and student helped develop confidence.

“He connected with me because of the relationship,” she said. “He had the ability to pull things out of me.”

Before Bell, the only people who believed in Johnson were her parents. Rather than send their daughter to a speech pathologist, the parents persuaded her to sing in a church choir to gain confidence in front of people.

“Now when I speak before a national convention, I incorporate music into my presentations and that is all because my mother taught me to sing at a young age to overcome my stuttering,” said Johnson, who has recorded six songs on a gospel CD.

The motivation from her middle school teacher and her work at Grandview inspired Johnson to focus her dissertation on how a rewarding relationship between an adult figure and students can increase student achievement.

“Many times there were days of tears and days of joy with the writing involved for the dissertation,” Johnson said.

When notified by her adviser, Dr. Susan Rogers, that she had passed her final dissertation oral defense, Johnson became emotional after realizing years of dedication had come to fruition.

“There was nothing I could do but cry,” she said. “I told Dr. Rogers, ‘You made this happen. You gave me the strength and knowledge.’ It is a moment in my life that I will never forget.”

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Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.




 

NEWS RELEASE
May 19, 2010
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

College of Arts and Sciences graduate profile: Early visits to campus influenced honor student

Baldwin City, Kan. — Annual trips to Baker University from his hometown of Osawatomie for high school honor band performances made an impression on Jesse Kern.JesseKern

“I was able to see the campus and be exposed to the music department,” Kern said. “I liked the size of the campus and the people I met at Baker while I was in high school.”

Kern enjoyed the experience so much that he enrolled at Baker. Four years later after his last honor band performance, Kern, the first in his family to attend college, will receive a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in chemistry and mathematics, during commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 23, at the Collins Center on the Baldwin City campus.

“My last two years at Baker seemed to go by quickly,” Kern said. “I was taking classes that required a lot of time and I hit the books. I didn’t let extracurricular activities and the social life get in the way of scholastics. I would get my schoolwork done no matter what.”

Kern’s classmates noticed his efforts in the classroom. At the annual Undergraduate Research, Performance and Honors Symposium earlier this month, Kern was named the Student Senate Outstanding Male Scholar.

“I was surprised and excited that I was recognized by my peers,” said Kern, who has a 3.93 grade-point average and is active member of Zeta Chi fraternity.

Admittedly an introvert in high school, Kern embraced the opportunities to meet his college classmates and become involved in organizations.

“Getting to know your classmates started on the first or second day of orientation and continued in the First Year Experience program,” Kern said. “Everyone wanted to make friends with each other.”

Kern made lifelong friends in the music department, where he played the tuba and later the trumpet in Baker’s jazz band. Serving three years as a peer tutor, he also enjoyed interacting with students sharing an interest in his majors: chemistry and mathematics.

“I always enjoyed the one-on-one communication with other students,” Kern said. “As a tutor, I was able to work with a diverse group of students who had different backgrounds.”

After receiving his degree from Baker, Kern plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Kansas and work on various research projects for private companies.

Kern thanked his parents and teachers for developing his interests in science and math.

“When I was young, my dad would buy me the chemistry set for Christmases and my birthdays,” he said. “I always understood math and was quick to learn it. I have to give credit to my teachers who challenged me to do more in the classroom.”

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Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.


 

NEWS RELEASE
May 17, 2010
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Wichita pastor to speak at baccalaureate

Baldwin City, Kan. — The Rev. Junius Boyd Dotson, senior pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, will speak at the baccalaureate service at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 23, at First United Methodist Church in Baldwin City.Dotson

Dotson was ordained to the ministry of the United Methodist Church in June 1992. In 1996, he began a new and innovative church in the Silicon Valley, Genesis United Methodist Church. Dotson’s ministry has been featured in The San Jose Mercury News, The San Francisco Examiner, The Sacramento Bee, religious journals, and segments on CBS Radio’s “The Osgood File.”

Dotson received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a concentration in economics at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he was also president of the local chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha, the nation’s oldest African American fraternity. He began his postgraduate work at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and earned his Master of Divinity degree from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, Calif.

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Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.
 
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