Baker, Ron James

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Baker, Ron James

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  • R.J. Baker

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Ronald James (a.k.a. R.J. or Ron) Baker received his BA in 1951 and his MA in 1953 both from the University of British Columbia. With his education complete, Ron Baker went on to make significant contributions to the establishment of the community college system in Canada both as an educator and as an administrator from the early 1950s right through to his retirement in 1999. He also contributed greatly to the field of linguistic studies, most notably for the Prince George region, through his 1960-1961 examination of the Carrier language in the Nadleh Whuten (Nautley – Fort Fraser) Reserve on Fraser Lake in Northern B.C. R.J. Baker began his career in education as a lecturer (1951-1955; 1957-58) in the Department of English at the University of British Columbia (UBC); eventually advancing to the positions of Assistant Professor (1958-63) and Associate Professor (1963-65). It was during his UBC tenure in the 1960s that Ron Baker was asked to became one of the chief contributors to John B. Macdonald's report, “Higher Education in British Columbia and a Plan for the Future” (The University of British Columbia: 1962) This report led directly to the government's decision to establish a second university- Simon Fraser University- in the Lower Mainland. On November 14, 1963, the newly established Simon Fraser University (SFU) hired R.J. Baker as its first Director of Academic Planning. After assuming his duties on January 1, 1964 he went on to became the head of SFU's English Department on December 10, 1964: a position he held from 1964-1968. Throughout his SFU tenure, R.J. Baker also served on the provincial Academic Board for Higher Education, established to advise the government on applying the recommendations of the 1962 Macdonald Report. *In 1969, Ron Baker left Simon Fraser University to become the first President of the University of Prince Edward Island, a post he held for nine years. On July 4, 1978 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to higher education. In addition to his work in British Columbia and Prince Edward Island, he was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the AUCC, served the maximum period allowed on the Canada Council and was the President of the Association of Atlantic Universities. He was also President of the Association of Canadian University Teachers of English and the Canadian Society for the Study of Higher Education, and served on the executives of the Canadian Linguistic Association and the Canadian Council of Teachers of English. In January 1990, he was asked by the government of British Columbia to write a preliminary report on the establishment of a university in the northern part of the province – a university eventually established as the University of Northern British Columbia. Dr. Baker has since retired and now lives in Surrey, British Columbia. [*excerpt from Ron Baker fonds, Appendix: “Autobiographical Sketch” by R.J. Baker, courtesy of Simon Fraser University Archives and Records Management Department.]

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