Michelle Baker, associate dean in Utah State University’s College of Science and professor in the Department of Biology and the USU Ecology Center, will serve as the college’s interim dean, beginning January 1, 2021. Baker’s appointment, announced by USU Executive Vice President and Provost Frank Galey July 28, follows current Science Dean Maura Hagan’s June announcement she is retiring from her post December 31.
“We are very pleased Dr. Baker has agreed to lead the College of Science, while the university seeks Dean Hagan’s successor,” Galey says. “Dr. Baker’s proven guidance and experience will keep the college on a steady course, while we conduct a thorough and unrushed search for the college’s next dean.”
Baker, who joined USU in 1999, currently serves Associate Dean for Research and Faculty. Promoted to full professor in 2011, her research interests include aquatic ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, water quality and hydrology. Baker led the statewide, six-year National Research Foundation-funded iUTAH EPSCoR initiative, aimed at strengthening science networks for Utah’s water future. She was awarded the state’s prestigious Pioneers of Progress Award in 2017.
The College of Science includes the academic departments of Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Computer Science, Geosciences, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics.
Galey appointed a search committee, under the leadership of committee chair Joseph Ward, dean of USU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences, consisting of faculty and staff representatives from each of the college’s academic departments and the Dean’s Office, as well as a student representative. Vice Provost Paul Barr is managing the search process, which the university aims to complete by the start of Fall Semester 2021.