“A lot of universities talk about student success, and they want to get students through school and graduated,” Baker said. “We want to do more than that. We want to look over the horizon and make sure they’re going to be successful in their careers and their lives.”
He stressed that NIU is working on securing internships for all disciplines since a paid internship is the key to employment. NIU has already held a series of meetings with alumni to talk about their significant role in mentoring students, providing internships, and helping students network to find jobs.
“Internships turn out to be more important than your degree, the school you went to, or your GPA in terms of getting a job when you go out,” Baker said. “So we’re setting up those programs to have that kind of internship program, as well as mentoring with those 200,000 alumni that we have in Chicagoland.”
He cited the NIU political science program as a great example of a department that has nearly 100 percent job placement because of internships.
During his interview with Steve Cochran, he also emphasized that NIU has a low crime rate.
“We have among the lowest crimes in the state of any university,” Baker said. “So I think that public perception from an incident or two doesn’t represent the reality.”
NIU has hired a new police chief who is partnering with city police to focus on safety issues, he said, and $2 million has been spent on interoperable radios so the university and communities have an enhanced safety network.
To hear other topics during the interview, click here.