2016 Silver Circle winner Christopher Baker
Since 1966, the Silver Circle Award has been presented to some of UIC’s best teachers. Winners, who are honored at their college commencements, receive $500 and their names join a long list of distinguished colleagues. But what makes the award especially meaningful is its selection committee: the graduating seniors.
“I felt so at home,” Christopher Baker says of his arrival at UIC last August.
“Here you know people want to get into what is contemporary, what is political, what is social, and I love that. I think this is a really exciting time to be student and faculty member at UIC.”
Baker is an interdisciplinary teacher and scientist with personal and professional experience in topics ranging from biopsychology and statistics, to community psychology and community organizing, to food science and nutritional medicine.
Developmental psychology, psychological testing and community psychology are among his classes.
The statistics component of the psychological testing course serves as a “great equalizer” that expands job opportunities for students who gain proficiency in software used for statistical analysis.
“Statistics gives value to all students regardless of their background,” he explained.
“I want students to leave that course and have something they can put on their résumé.”
Baker’s community psychology students have led campus campaigns in support of veteran students, commuter students, nutritional data and UIC’s tobacco-free policy enforcement.
“Actively working on campaigns for the university leads to a transformation of students and to see how excited they were was so rewarding,” he said.
“Ultimately, I want to make UIC a wellness campus.”
As a graduate student and teaching assistant at the University of California at Santa Cruz, Baker witnessed various teaching styles and refined his own instructional skills.
“It doesn’t really matter where you are from or who you are,” he said. “I feel like I have a style that can reach you.”