Gardner-Webb GOAL Graduate Receives National Honor

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Jeff Baker of UNC Charlotte Named Campus Safety Director of the Year

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – Gardner-Webb University GOAL program alumnus Jeff Baker was recently named the 2012 Campus Safety Director of the Year by Campus Safety Magazine for his outstanding service at UNC Charlotte (University of North Carolina), where he serves as chief of police.  Based in California, the magazine exclusively serves campus police chiefs, security directors, emergency managers, and others that protect universities, schools, and hospitals across the United States.

Baker joined UNC Charlotte in 2009 after retiring from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Dept. as a captain.  In June 2010 he was named interim chief of police and then named chief of police in May 2011.  Implemented in only two years, Baker developed a plan focusing on community oriented policing, successfully lobbied for more officers, and pushed for more thorough investigations.  His efforts led to a nearly 36% reduction in total incidents reported.  In addition, Baker implemented an internal affairs unit that helped to ensure officers are guided by his department’s mission and values.

“There were so many wonderful finalists and I am humbled,” said Baker.  “Nothing is more important than the safety and security of students, staff and faculty.  I am a de facto dad, brother, and friend to our community.  A chief must be connected to the community that they serve in as many ways as possible in today’s environment.”

Candidates for the award were nominated for consideration by their colleagues who submitted criteria including the accomplishments of the nominee, examples of their achievements, reasons the nominee deserved to win, and recommendations from other administrators and employees.

Baker said, “Earning my degree at Gardner-Webb instilled a discipline that led to numerous successes as an adult.  In both my law enforcement and personal life, GWU was instrumental in preparing a positive path in life.  I would be remiss in not naming Dr. Vann Murrell as an exemplary professor who taught me much more than religion.  What a wonderful university.  I’m proud to be an alum.”  Murrell (retired) served as chairman of the religion dept., as well as a past president for the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion’s southeastern region.

The GOAL (Greater Opportunity for Adult Learners) program seeks to meet the unique needs of students working full-time jobs, while seeking advanced education.  Students can continue their studies culminating in a baccalaureate degree.  Majors include accounting, business administration, business management, computer information systems, healthcare management, nursing, and religious studies.  This important mission of Gardner-Webb has been an ongoing effort for nearly 35 years.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).