Getting Settled In: Dr. Jeffrey P. Bakken – Dean of Graduate School and Sponsored Research

September 4, 2012

            It’s been a month and half since starting June 1st, and Dr. Bakken has hit the ground running, charting a course of action for the graduate department.  Transitioning here from ISU, Bradley has thoroughly impressed him.  He is enamored by the beautiful campus and sense of community that exudes from the faculty, staff, and students.  Dr. Bakken stated “It is apparent as to the care that everyone associated with the university has for it from the faculty and administration to the students and the alumnus.”  He is awestruck with all the new buildings and renovations that are taking place on campus down to the clubs, sports, and social activities that seem to inspire student life.”

            His impeccable resume highlights the passion he feels towards education, research and teaching.  Thankful for a helpful and talented staff,  Dr. Bakken is confident that the Graduate School has the right tools to move it forward. His main focus is on establishing policies, getting procedures down on paper, clarifying objectives, and preparing the appropriate documents that explain all the systemized processes that will make this department run smoothly. 

Bakken believes in a facilitating an environment that supports collaboration and continuing to build a quality educational program.  In the past, the Graduate School has had enrollment of close to 1,000 students with 2011 being one of the largest graduating classes.  Bakken wants to continue to draw in and grow the enrollment to a sustainable level.

            He is very focused on making sure that the Graduate School is meeting the demands of the consumers, possibly by offering alternative course opportunities, more weekend classes, on-line courses, or even more certificate programs.  He believes that Bradley is positioned perfectly to continue growing even in the field of research.  Dr. Bakken is working hand in hand with Dr. Charles Maris, The Assistant Dean of Research & Sponsored Programs in hopes of facilitating positive change with research here on campus.  They hope to establish a culture to recognize professors, staff, and administration for what they are doing on campus.  He feels there is not a better way to effect positive change than by acknowledging good work.

 His philosophy about improving the Research here at Bradley will be fostered by empowering the faculty with the benefits of grant writing and research.  He hopes that administration and faculty will look at this as a more holistic opportunity to redistribute the rewards of the grants across all levels of the university from the immediate faculty, the department and also the Provost.  He truly believes there is no better way to educate the students than by allowing them to actually work on the research.  Speaking from his past experiences says that the student involvement in the process will only enhance their experience and the overall quality of their education.

Dr. Bakken is a happily married man to his wife Heidi and a proud father of two, his son, who is almost 15 and his daughter, who just turned 12.  His free time is limited but he is an avid biker and very religious about working out in the wee hours of the morning at the gym.  When asked about hobbies he has a few from biking to riding his motorcycle, but really when not at work he just enjoys spending time with his family.  He is honored and excited about his new position at Bradley; he plans on tackling all of his new challenges on the job with his positive can-do attitude.  He does miss teaching and is looking to get back into the classroom setting as soon as he can.

            Bradley Graduate School is proud of all our programs offered and for the experiences that our faculty and school can offer our students.  We will be featuring as many of these wonderful stories that we can in the near future to let you know what is happening here on campus!  Til next time – The Graduate School