National leadership award for Lakeland College instructor

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June 16, 2016
Lakeland’s Rob Baron is one of four people in Canada to receive a gold level Award of Excellence from Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan)
For his innovation and achievements at Lakeland, Baron was awarded the gold CICan Leadership Excellence Award during the organization’s annual conference in Québec City on May 31.

“I was extremely honoured that my colleagues chose to nominate me for this award. I have worked with some amazing teams for many departments over my career at the college,” says Rob Baron, head of Lakeland College’s renewable energy and conservation program.

CICan’s 2016 Awards of Excellence recognize best practices from institutions across the country. The Leadership Excellence Award recognizes that although the entire post-secondary institution plays a learning leadership role in the communities they serve, inevitably, one individual makes an outstanding contribution each year.

“Rob has been a valued colleague for over a quarter of a century. The leadership he has shown both Lakeland College and the community is immeasurable, valued and overwhelmingly respected,” says Alice Wainwright-Stewart, president of Lakeland College. “From helping to establish the Student Managed Farm – Powered by New Holland to creating new curriculum for agriculture, and developing Lakeland’s applied research, Rob is instrumental to the growth and success of the college. He is very deserving of this prestigious award and we are very proud of his accomplishment.”

Before joining Lakeland as an instructor in 1987, Baron worked in agricultural machinery research and manufacturing, specializing in fertilizer, seeding and pesticide application. At Lakeland, Baron has exercised his passion for sharing knowledge and helping others learn through classroom instruction, course development, program development and most recently through leading the college’s applied research initiatives.

With his continued dedication to students, Baron has led initiatives to improve the quality of education at Lakeland. Some of the areas in which Baron has excelled in his leadership include:
  • Active in the team that developed the Student Managed Farm (SMF) model, which revolutionized the way that Lakeland provided agricultural education to students;
  • Being an early adopter and thought leader in the engagement of new learning technologies and methods of student engagement and piloting the first fully online program at the college;
  • Exploring ways to undertake applied research which keeps students closely engaged and provides student-led research projects;
  • Championing the development of new areas of programming by developing the Renewable Energy and Conservation program;
  • Driving the development of Lakeland’s key research infrastructure, the Centre for Sustainable Innovation; and
  • Building relationships with industry that have resulted in project collaborations and investments.

“Rob has one of the best creative minds of anyone I have had the pleasure to work with, and has truly been a leader in every sense of the word in such a broad spectrum of projects,” says Mel Mathison, former dean of Lakeland’s School of Environmental Sciences and Applied Research. “Lakeland College is a different and better college with Rob’s contributions.”

Throughout his career Baron has been recognized for his work and innovation with a number of other awards including the Graduate Thesis Award from the Canadian Society for Bioengineering (2005) and Award of Innovation in Teaching from the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association (2007).

About CICan
CICan is the national and international voice of Canada’s publicly supported colleges, institutes and polytechnics. Its members work with industry and social sectors to train 1.5 million learners of all ages and backgrounds at campuses serving over 3,000 urban, rural and remote communities in Canada. The association operates in 29 countries via 12 offices around the world.

Photo Courtesy of CICan: Rob Baron (left) with Denise Amyot (right), president and CEO of CICan, following the CICan awards ceremony.

June 16, 2016