Andy Jett, MLA’09, EdD ’19, has been a Baker employee for the last 15 years and has always felt right at home.
“Both of my kids have gone here, my soon-to-be son-in-law graduated from the School of Professional and Graduate Studies and has come back for his MBA,” said Jett. “I have so many friends and colleagues that I care about and who care about me.”
Jett was hired at Baker in 2004 as a project manager, and was soon promoted to ERP system administrator to manage and automate business functions using information technology. Over the years, his job titles have changed and responsibilities have increased. He was named executive director of information management, then promoted to chief information officer, and eventually served as vice president of strategic planning. In January 2019, he was named vice president of institutional effectiveness, leading the university’s strategic planning and institutional research efforts.
To remain at Baker and continue to advance, Jett knew he needed a terminal degree. In 2012, Jett enrolled in the Doctor of Education in Leadership in Higher Education, and will graduate in May.
“I love what I do and love having an impact on student success,” he said. “Having this degree gives me opportunities to have a greater impact.”
The program’s cohort model has created a network of professionals that Jett relies on as he advances in his career.
“The format where I spent two years with a group of other higher education peers was amazing,” he said. “This is what I think differentiates us from other programs. I now have this group of higher education professionals that I can share concerns with to get great feedback from.”
Graduating with a doctoral degree is already a significant accomplishment, but this commencement ceremony will be even more special for Jett. His daughter Sami will also graduate in May. She studied at Baker’s College of Arts and Sciences on the Baldwin City campus, where Jett’s office is located.
“I feel so blessed,” he said. “She and I have seen each other almost daily for lunch or just to catch up for the last four years. I have had the privilege of watching the transformative effect of a college education on my own child. I am so proud of her.”
Sami, who will graduate with a degree in sociology and minor in psychology, said having her dad attend school with her has been mutually beneficial.
“It is really exciting to be graduating at the same time as my dad,” she said. “It feels like I am not doing this alone and we push each other to be successful. He has been my rock during college, especially at the beginning when I was overwhelmed. He has given me confidence in myself, and I feel like I can achieve anything I put my mind to because of him.”
It won’t be easy for Sami to say goodbye to Baker.
“Baker means more to me than just my four years here,” she said. “It is a family tradition. A few of my family members are graduates of Baker and it will always hold a huge place in my heart. This place has always felt like home to me and I will miss it.”