For this month’s Volunteer of the Month, we honor Dr. Mathew Baker (pictured above center), Professor at the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications at Texas Tech University. Dr. Baker is recognized in particular as an outstanding agriculture education and training (AET) volunteer, having provided important assistance to the formal AET sector in Nigeria.
In June 2014, Dr. Baker conducted an institutional assessment of Center for Entrepreneurship Development & Vocation Studies (CEDVS), Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti in Nigeria. He presented a program assessment report and worked with CEDVS administration to develop an institutional assessment and development plan, which provides a framework for CEDVS’ efforts to improve their effectiveness as an AET provider.
As a result of Dr. Baker’s volunteer assignment with CEDVS, Texas Tech University and CEDVS subsequently signed a Letter of Intent to establish a more formal linkage between the two schools.
Dr. Baker and the F2F Nigeria Country Director Mike Bassey, along with co-authors A. A. Jimoh (CEDVS Director) and Taiwo Akande (Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti), wrote a paper titled: “An Expertise-Oriented Evaluation of the Center for Entrepreneurship Development and Vocational Studies, Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria: Implications for Assessing and Improving the Federal Polytechnic System in Nigeria.” This paper was accepted for publication in the Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education. Furthermore, an abstract was accepted for presentation at the 2015 annual meeting at Wageningen University, The Netherlands.
Dr. Baker and Mr. Bassey presented this paper at the Conference on Agricultural Extension and Food Security in Africa at Ohio State University in October 2014. When Mr. Bassey came to the United States to present the paper, Dr. Baker hosted a dinner at Texas Tech that assisted in showcasing volunteerism and the F2F program and to other extension professionals.
Dr. Baker has continued his support of CEDVS. In November 2014, he presented a paper (via video) entitled “Entrepreneurship & Leadership Education: An Inseparable Duo,” at two events hosted by CEDVS. This enabled 7,025 faculty and students to benefit from his ongoing support!
Reflecting on his initial assignment with CEDVS, Dr. Baker notes,
“Professionally, the assignment has contributed to my knowledge on post-secondary education in Nigeria, which I am already using. I am teaching a graduate online program evaluation course, and I have used the contexts of this trip to teach principles and concepts to my students in New Mexico and west Texas. Personally, I have grown and developed as well. It has been a great growth opportunity.”
Dr. Baker is a recipient of the 2014 President’s Volunteer Service Award, having completed more than 100 hours of volunteer service. He will return to Nigeria in May to continue to support CEDVS and the formal AET sector, assessing the how outcome assessment data affects curriculum improvements.
Thank you for your great work, commitment, and service, Dr. Baker!