For new educational leadership and foundations professor Donald Baum, teaching at BYU is fulfilling a personal desire as well as a family tradition. Baum is a graduate of BYU who has always had a desire to teach at a university, and he is the grandson of Dan Anderson, former dean of the McKay School.
Baum earned his bachelor’s degree in linguistics at BYU, and when he returned as a graduate student he decided to pursue a degree in the field of education. He received a master’s degree in education policy at BYU and later went on to get a PhD in education policy from the University of Minnesota.
Baum credits much of his interest in education to the influence of his grandfather. “I knew that I wanted to do something that was of value and make a contribution to the world,” Baum said. “I remembered the stories my grandfather told about his work and that had a big influence on me.”
Before coming to BYU, Baum worked for the World Bank in a position that included researching non-state schools in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. His work was concerned with governments working with private schools to make education more affordable.
Baum’s career has allowed him to pursue his goals. “I always thought the two jobs I would love to have were working at the World Bank and being a professor at a university,” he said.
Baum hopes to inspire students to get involved with education around the world. “I’m excited about being a part of everything that goes on here at BYU and hopefully being able to influence more students to get into international development in education,” he said.
While the transition into teaching is not easy, Baum is enjoying his new role of professor, including the opportunity to do research as well as teach an education policy course. He has received a lot of encouragement from others during his adjustment. “It’s a great department. Everyone is very supportive and it’s a good environment,” he said.
Writer: Kirsten Clancy
Contact: Cynthia Glad (801) 422-1922