Dr. Jim Baker has been a part of Missouri State University’s leadership team for almost three decades. Today (Dec. 16) he announced that he’s retiring on June 30.
Baker, vice president for research and economic development and international programs, came to the university with President John Keiser in July 1993 as assistant to the president.
In Baker’s 28 years at Missouri State, he’s also served as director of the Ozarks Studies Institute, interim vice president for administrative services, chancellor of the Mountain Grove campus and director of the office of China programs.
“Jim will leave a lasting legacy at the university,” said MSU President Clif Smart. “He has been involved in some of the university’s most pivotal points in history – securing our statewide mission in public affairs and getting our name changed to Missouri State University. And he’s led significant growth in our research, economic development and international programs.
“On a personal level, Jim has been one of my strongest and most trusted advisors. I’ve always been able to depend on him for advice and support. I am grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to work with Jim and I’ll miss him tremendously.”
In his current role, Baker oversees international programs, research administration, broadcast services, the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center and Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center.
“I have been truly blessed to work at Missouri State University since 1993,” Baker said. “The changes I have witnessed at the university during that time have been remarkable.
“Those changes have occurred as a result of the extraordinary leadership and hard work of presidents Keiser, Nietzel and Smart and the faculty and staff that make Missouri State University so outstanding. Best of all, I have been able to work with a lot of talented and dedicated people.”
Baker has left his mark on Missouri State
Baker was heavily involved in creating and developing IDEA Commons – Missouri State’s urban innovation park located in Springfield’s center city.
He serves on the Missouri Technology Corporation board and the Springfield Innovation, Inc. board.
Since Baker started at Missouri State, international student enrollment has increased from 265 to 1,605 students.
In September 2012, Baker received the China National Friendship Award. The award is the highest honor that the Chinese government confers to foreign experts who have made outstanding contributions to China.
External funding for research has also increased substantially. The university secured less than $10 million a year in the early 1990s and $36 million in FY 2021.
Baker received his bachelor’s in sociology and Master of Public Administration degrees from Boise State University, Idaho. He received his doctorate in education from the University of Idaho.
Search for replacement begins soon
The university will begin the search for Baker’s replacement this spring.
Chief of Staff Ryan Deboef and Dean of the College of Business David Meinert will lead the search committee.