Dr. Sue Darby, assistant professor at Baker University School of Education, has spent her entire career as an educator.
“I’ve spent a total of 22 years in various community colleges at which I was a faculty member, a department chair, an outreach director, and a vice president of academics,” said Darby.
Darby, who began her career as a high school English and speech teacher, made the transition to higher education by teaching dual credit courses through Cowley College in Arkansas City, Kansas.
“I was given the opportunity to teach dual credit to high school students,” said Darby. “It was a bit of a relief to no longer worry about the aspect of disciplining students and instead guide them through the excitement of learning.”
When a full-time position as an English faculty member at Cowley College opened up, Darby applied. From there, she became the Dean of Instruction at John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois.
“As they say, the rest is history,” said Darby. “I love the community college mission of giving students the first chance at acquiring a college degree or the last chance at acquiring a college degree.”
Darby’s passion for higher education is evident in her difficulty in staying away. She retired from Hutchinson Community College in 2010 and again from National American University in 2018. Soon after, she found the Baker community calling her.
“Well, I tried to retire, but a friend drew me into Baker by first asking me to supervise doctoral students in their directed field experience,” Darby said. “I really enjoyed working with doctoral students. Then she asked if I would like to teach a couple of courses, and here I am. I am invigorated by the aspect of facilitating the learning for doctoral students.”
Her joy of nurturing and developing student growth extends to the Ed.D. in higher education program, which Darby whole-heartedly believes in.
“The Baker higher education program culminates in a doctor of education degree,” Darby said. “People holding an Ed.D. have long been considered practitioners rather than researchers. What this means is that Baker students will have practical knowledge about a variety of topics, from finance, curriculum development, and assessment of student learning.”
While it can be difficult to make the jump and enroll in a doctoral program, Darby knows the end result will be worth it.
“Baker’s Ed.D. in leadership in higher education is great because the faculty are working professionals with depth and breadth of higher education experience,” said Darby. “Our program allows flexible scheduling for students, as well as connections and networking with professionals in their chosen fields.”
Baker University is accepting applications for the Ed.D. in Leadership in Higher Education cohort that starts in August.