Anne Christo-Baker, head of the Department of Managerial Studies and associate professor of organizational behavior and leadership at Purdue Northwest, is a highly engaged member of her community. Since starting at Purdue Northwest in 2009, she has centered her life on helping others. When she is not in her office working with students and faculty, Baker is reaching out to her community through her involvement with the Chicagoland Immigrant Welcome Network.
What are your responsibilities as head of the Department of Managerial Studies in the College of Business at Purdue University Northwest?
In addition to teaching, I am responsible for providing operational and strategic leadership for programs in entrepreneurship, leadership, management, marketing and human resources. This includes oversight of the curriculum development process, quality assurance and faculty and staff recruitment and development. In other words, I work with my faculty colleagues to review and develop programs and courses that support our focus on student engagement and success. I also work with students to address their concerns. I believe that ultimately everything we do should converge on positive student outcomes.
What led you to pursue work in this type of career field?
With an undergraduate degree in quantitative economics and statistics, my early career focused on quantitative and technical issues. However, assuming supervisory roles in my 20s led me to the realization that the possession of technical skills was not the only determinant of success. People management and leadership skills emerged as important factors. Consequently, I later pursued graduate studies in organization development and leadership studies, which focused on the people side of organizations.
What kind of research do you perform and what does it focus on?
My research is primarily applied research and centers on uncovering and finding practical solutions to issues in organizations. Currently, my focus is on gender issues and the development of programs that support the professional and career advancement of women. My interest in gender issues in the workplace stems primarily from the fact that data indicates that women have made tremendous strides in educational achievement, yet remain significantly underrepresented in the higher echelons of leadership organizations. I am intrigued by the possible antecedents and consequences of this apparent disparity, and my research focuses on uncovering underlying reasons and determining what solution, if any, can be implemented to successfully address it. I am also interested in personality and how it impacts interpersonal interactions in the workplace.
What is your involvement with the Chicagoland Immigrant Welcome Network?
I serve on the board of directors and support the network with fulfilling its mission, which is primarily to assist with resettlement and create a welcoming community for immigrants and refugees to the Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland area. Having immigrated to the United States myself, I am aware of some of the challenges faced by immigrants and immigrant families. I saw this as an organization that I could support by providing service and personal insights and perspectives. My favorite part of my involvement with the organization is making presentations to community groups to create awareness and educate them about the realities of the immigrant and refugee situation. I feel proud to be part of this organization that has made such a significant contribution to the local community.
Written by Olivia Crouse, Purdue Today