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6/17/03

Westminster VP Stephen Baar to Return to Teaching

Salt Lake City-June 17, 2003-After 15 years of service as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty at Westminster College, Stephen R. Baar is returning to teaching. Baar arrived in Westminster's English Department in 1971, and over the next three decades, established an insightful and witty connection with the college's staff, faculty and students. After serving as chair of the department, then serving for six years as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Baar became the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty in 1988.

Following a sabbatical, Baar will return to teaching at the college in the fall of 2004. President Michael Bassis offered Baar the position of provost in the college's recent administrative reorganization, but he declined the offer, citing his desire to teach again. He feels that the most important things in a Westminster education are "the relationships between faculty and staff and our students, and the teaching moments that happen dozens of times a day." At a recent gathering of faculty and staff, he said, "As an administrator I like to think I helped to create an environment where these things happened often and happened well. As a teacher, I'm looking forward to being a bigger part of those relationships and moments again."

At Westminster's commencement exercises in May, President Bassis praised Baar for his superb teaching and administrative leadership. "No one better exemplifies the qualities that Westminster holds dear," he said. "No one deserves more credit for the academic quality that defines Westminster today."

Baar's leadership has been a steady force in strengthening Westminster's academic reputation and developing its long-term viability as a well-respected educational institution. As academic vice president, he was responsible for hiring more than three-quarters of the current Westminster faculty, whose credentials and performance have brought substantial recognition to the college. As enrollment tripled, average ACT scores of first year students also steadily rose. Under Baar's direction, the college created the school of education, developed three new masters programs in professional communication, nursing, and technology commercialization, new undergraduate majors and minors, the honors program.

Westminster College has become a model in the intermountain west for integrating liberal arts and professional education, using information technology to support learning, and assimilating adjunct faculty into academic programs. The college raised millions of dollars in grant support for academic programs, student scholarships and faculty development throughout Baar's term. The Gore School of Business building and the Center for Business, Aviation and Entrepreneurship, the Giovale Library and the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts were constructed under his tenure to house academic programs. Baar was instrumental in launching the Anne Newman Sutton Weeks Poetry Series, the Tanner-McMurrin Lectures on History and Philosophy and Religion, the Kim T. Adamson Endowed Chair and Lecture on International Affairs, the Key Bank Diversity Lecture Series, the Weldon J. Taylor/American Express Management Lecture Series, and the KCPW studio on the campus.

Baar is active in regional accreditation, a popular speaker at national conferences on issues in higher education, and was awarded the prestigious Governor's Award in the Humanities in 1994 for his contributions to public appreciation of the humanities.

Westminster College is the only private, comprehensive liberal arts college in Utah and one of the very few in the Intermountain West. The college is small, nondenominational and focused intensively on student learning. It prepares its students for success through a strong foundation of liberal education combined with forward-looking professional programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Westminster in the top tier of regional colleges and universities in the West, and as an excellent educational value. For more information visit www.westminstercollege.edu.