The Graduate College

Spring 2008

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New & Noteworthy
Reflections from the Dean
Ones to Watch: ARCS Scholars
Program Notes: MS ENGR
GSO Update
Graduate Assistants' Corner
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Features
Teaching: Toward a Community of Practice
Farewell to Pat Baron
Some Thoughts on Doing Less
Triumph in Tuba City


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Farewell to Pat Baron

If you pursued your graduate education at NAU in the last 26 years, then Associate Dean Patricia B. Baron played a role in your academic success. From 1982 until her retirement last month, Dr. Baron’s professional career was devoted to graduate education.

During her career here, she oversaw growth in graduate enrollment from 1,916 students in 1982 (with 678 statewide students) to almost 6,000 in 2007, including 4,146 distance students. She gradually increased the staff of the Graduate College office from three in 1982 to the current 13.

What might seem like a task for Sisyphus, rising each day to push heaps of paper up a steep incline only to rise again the next day to push similar heaps, was, for Dr. Baron, a rewarding career in public service. She never lost sight of the core function of the Graduate College--providing support and assistance to graduate students. To that end, she was vigilant in her pursuit of refinements to policies, processes, and technologies.

Dr. Baron was also a mentor to her staff, providing guidance, support, and opportunities for professional advancement. She exemplified compassionate public service without sacrificing the obligations associated with safeguarding the quality and integrity of graduate education.

She worked with thousands of students, faculty, and staff to resolve problems. If necessary, she could be tough as nails. She did her best to promote the welfare of graduate students, but that didn’t mean she was a soft touch if an individual failed to meet the performance standards expected of a graduate student. She adhered to a philosophy of personal accountability and pressed students to present solutions to the dilemmas in which they found themselves. Department chairs and faculty knew they could rely on Dr. Baron for clarity and common sense.

She’s retired now with her husband Bob, living in the northwest and pursuing hobbies too long deferred—needlepoint, gardening, visiting lighthouses, and reading cozy mysteries.

After 26 years of dedicated service to graduate education, she can use the time off.


—Thomas Carpenter, Graduate College associate director