SAN DIEGO – April 11, 2017 – Gail F. Baker, Ph.D., a distinguished leader with more than 30 years of experience in higher education, has been appointed Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of San Diego. Dr. Baker currently serves as Dean of the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media and the Executive Associate to the Chancellor at the University of Nebraska Omaha. She will begin her leadership role at USD in July.
Baker will succeed Andrew T. Allen, Ph.D., who has served as vice president and provost since 2013. Dr. Baker was selected after an extensive national search that resulted in meetings with several highly qualified candidates including three finalists who visited the USD campus to meet trustees, faculty, staff and students.
“After meeting with Gail, she quickly emerged as someone whose unique combination of administrative and academic experience has prepared her well to transition to an academic leadership role at the University of San Diego,” said President James T. Harris III, D.Ed. “Gail was a leading candidate of choice among faculty, staff, students and the selection committee, which speaks to her qualifications, her commitment to academic excellence and her appreciation of USD’s mission, values and rich Catholic intellectual tradition.”
“Thank you to President Harris, the search committee and the entire USD community for inviting me to be a part of such a special institution,” said Baker. “I am extremely blessed to have found a campus of kindred spirits. I look forward to being a part of a team that helps bring the Envisioning 2024 strategic plan to fruition and further develop USD’s strong liberal arts curriculum and outstanding graduate, law and professional programs.”
As dean of the College of Communications, Fine Arts and Media (CFAM) at the University of Nebraska Omaha, her primary role involved articulating CFAM’s strategic priorities and securing the necessary resources for success. Among the highlights of her career at CFAM was the restructuring of the college into three distinct and collaborative schools, a move that helped to secure funding for the performing arts center building addition and expanded CFAM’s community of donors and supporters.
Baker is accredited by the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) where she is also a member of the College Fellows. She has earned recognition for her work as a teacher, scholar, communications practitioner and writer, authoring many books and articles. Baker has been recognized with four Emmy Awards for Excellence in Documentary Writing and Producing.
Baker holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, a master’s degree in Marketing Communications from Roosevelt University and a doctorate in Journalism from the University of Missouri Columbia. Prior to joining academia as an educator, she held positions with IBM and International Harvester (now Navistar).
She and her husband, James McCarty, are the parents of four children.
“After carefully evaluating each qualified candidate, our search committee identified an outstanding individual in Gail who, I am confident, will be a great asset to our campus community,” said Harris.
The Vice President and Provost Search Committee was led by co-chairs Carmen M. Vazquez, vice president of Student Affairs, and Carole Huston, associate provost. Other members included:
Amy Bowers ’13, ’17, Chair, Graduate Student Council
Monsignor Dan Dillabough, STD, JCL, Vice President, Mission and Ministry
Hugh Ellis, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, Chair of the University Senate
Erik Fritsvold, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Sociology
Imane Khalil, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Sue Lowery, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Chair of Academic Assembly
Diane Maher, MLS, Associate Professor, University Archivist/Special Collections Librarian
Patricia Marquez, Ph.D., Dean, Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies
Ann Mayo, Ph.D., Professor and Nursing Researcher
Noelle Norton, Ph.D., Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Maria Preciado, CPA, Assistant Controller
Danielle Priore ’17, Vice President, Associated Student Body
Manzur Rahman, Ph.D., Professor of Finance
Joi Spencer, Ph.D., Associate Dean for the School of Leadership and Education Sciences
Abraham Stoll, Ph.D., Professor of English, Chair of the English Department
Mary Jo Wiggins, J.D., Professor of Law
“I am enormously grateful to Andy Allen for his extraordinary service to USD as vice president and provost,” Harris said. Allen, a long-time member of the USD School of Business faculty, will assume a new leadership role at USD as the vice president of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Initiatives. He will help the university develop an institution-wide, annual planning process that aligns all administrative and academic units with USD’s new Envisioning 2024 strategic plan.