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Brad Baker Named Professor of the Year


National Professor of the Year Announced

Professor Brad Baker of CCCCD Bestowed with Academia's Highest Honor

November 14, 2000 - Collin College is once again in the national headlines with the announcement of theater professor Brad Baker being named U. S. Professor of the Year by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). Sponsored by USA Today, Professor Baker was named in recognition of his extraordinary dedication to teaching, commitment to students, and innovative instruction methods.

Baker, the director and artistic visionary of Collin College's award-winning theatre program, received the honor during a luncheon at the Gannett Corporate Headquarters in Arlington, VA. Among the dignitaries present were Lee S. Shulman, president of the Carnegie Foundation; Vance T. Peterson, president-designate of CASE; and Bob Dubill, executive editor of USA Today. "It is amazing to be receiving this award," Baker said. "It is especially nice to return here today in the area where I originally lived and taught before going to the Collin College Theatre."

Baker further recognized that the success he was being recognized for was the result of a "we" effort within the entity at the theatre.

Baker's theatre faculty and students have worked close to the edge. "both our play selection and the way that we have approached the classroom have been visionary, bold, and groundbreaking," Baker said. "We will not be confined by the expected process nor do we let people segment themselves. Our technicians perform, our actors work in the shop, and they learn to be complete, fully rounded artists."

Created by CASE in 1981, the U.S. Professors of the Year Program is the only national awards program that recognizes college and university professors for their teaching. The winners were selected from nearly 500 faculty members nominated by colleges and universities across the country. The Carnegie Foundation awards a $5,000 cash prize to each of the national winners.

Cary A. Israel, president of Collin College said in nominating Baker for the award, "In every aspect of his professional life, Professor Baker has demonstrated that he is an innovative, scholarly and engaged teacher. He constantly challenges his students and colleagues to explore new avenues for academic excellence. Indeed, Professor Baker is the consummate educator."

Sam Roach, Chairman of the Collin College Board of Trustees stated, "We are all extremely proud and honored to have Brad as part of our outstanding faculty. He constantly challenges students to reach their full potential.

Mr. Baker has been the head of the Theatre Arts Department for Collin College since 1992. Named the Quad C Theatre Group, his students and productions have achieved national recognition. Mr. Baker and his programs have been the only college in the country to receive both the American College Theatre Festival's (ACTF) National Collegiate Champion for Drama Award for a single production ("Stand Up Tragedy," 1996) and the ACTF Kennedy Center Award for best student written script in 2000.

Even more impressive than the recognition and accolades for the quality of education and production is Mr. Baker's affection for social change and lasting impact for each individual's personal growth and well-being. In Mr. Baker's personal statement, he states "because providing students with quality experience merges with my philosophy of theatre for social change, I insist they become involved in working for that change."

Many of his students have foregone four-year universities and scholarships in exchange for the experience and comprehensive training provided by Professor Baker and the Quad C Theatre Department. They have then successfully transferred to such acclaimed programs as New York University, University of Southern California, and the Julliard School of Drama. Also, many of his students have gone on to win Emmy Awards, Tony Awards, Obie Awards for Excellence Off-Broadway, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Kennedy Center Awards for Excellence in Play Writing. Former students have appeared on Broadway at CATS, Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and 42nd Street; and in motion pictures including Natural Born Killers, Philadelphia, Interview with a Vampire, JFK, Mississippi Burning, Malcolm X, and many more.

Mr. Baker is also involved in several projects including the writing of his dissertation exploring the social, political and artistic impact of black revolutionary theatres during apartheid in South Africa. He is spending time in New York City and Washington D.C. to compile musical theatre artifacts, sketches and designs, music scores, film clips, and production photos on CD ROM to allow students a nearly first-hand experience of the musical theatre world from 1866 to present. He is also working with other theatre professionals in Australia, Japan, Mexico, England, Israel, Russia, Nova Scotia, Germany and South Africa to provide cross-cultural training over a nine-month period for his students.

The praise from former and current students demonstrates his unique influence on them. One former student states, "Brad walks a line that most teachers are too afraid to try . . . Brad does not just teach theatre, he teaches life." Former student Michael Urie, from The Julliard School, introduced the professor at the awards ceremony and has stated that "Professor Baker's determination and artistic integrity are at the forefront of everything he does as he brings an edge of compassion and excitement to his co-workers, actors, students and audience. Brad's good-natured charm, intellect, humor, business skills, and love leave a lasting impression on every student he comes in contact with."

Collin College is also home to other outstanding faculty including Fulbright Scholars, a Harvard University visiting professor, and several Minnie Piper winners. For more information regarding this prestigious award and for interview arrangements, please call 972-758-3800.