Baker faculty, staff go beyond call of duty


Small classes and personal interaction with teachers is often a unique aspect used to encourage prospective students to attend Baker University.

To students, faculty, staff and administration, the opportunities within the classroom are what make Baker desirable.

It is this small classroom and teacher interaction that brings students and professors closer and helps facilitate learning in a positive way.

However, the student-teacher connection doesn’t always have to occur inside the classroom.

Baker University is filled with professors and administrators who go above and beyond what is often expected, striving to serve the students as educators, leaders and friends.

Professor of Music Trilla Lyerla requires students in her World Music class to take part in a “cultural excursion” outside of class. While she could have easily told her students they were on their own, she reached out to them.

Offering chances to take them to dinner at India Palace in Lawrence, or hosting movie nights in the Owens AV room at 9 p.m. in order to accommodate students’ schedules was not something she had to do.

Every January, students take off on interterm adventures to places such as Paris, London, Mexico, New York and Washington D.C.

It is professors who make these travel experiences possible for students. Their interest and enthusiasm for supervising these trips shows just how far teachers are willing to go for their students.

Coaches spend a majority of their time on weekends at games and meets rather than with family or friends.

It is not just these large-scale gestures by teachers that prove they are willing to go the extra mile. The smaller things are just as important.

Many teachers choose to eat lunch in the Wildcat Cafe or Allen Dining Hall. While it may seem like a simple everyday activity, some students may appreciate seeing professors, and take advantage of the chance to strengthen the bond between a teacher and themselves.

Professors in the language department sacrifice personal time during their lunch breaks to host language tables in Allen Dining Hall to help students interact with one another outside the classroom in a more casual setting.

Being able to walk down the campus sidewalks and wave or stop and have a conversation with a professor is not a common occurrence at bigger colleges or universities.

But at Baker, the bond that allows students to call professors by their first name, say hello or eat lunch with them in the cafeteria and go on a trip across the country is something to cherish.

As educators, our professors are proud of our accomplishments. As students, we should be proud of just how far our teachers would go to help us—as teachers and as friends.