Welcome to Baker College’s Spotlight feature, a series of brief interviews with notable BC students, faculty and alumni who are making news and reaching new heights in their educational and professional pursuits.
This edition of Spotlight features Anne Lansberry, Baker College’s Director of Assessment. Recently, Lansberry was named one of APL nextED’s “Outstanding Women in Leading Academic Operations.” Here we learn more about Anne and her professional path and passions.
Baker College (BC): We’re glad to have an opportunity to talk with you today, Anne. To start, please tell our readers how long have you been a part of the Baker College team, and in what roles?
Anne Lansberry (AL): I have been with Baker College for nearly 15 years, since September 2006, as a full-time employee. I began my career with Baker working as an adjunct faculty member while I was teaching in elementary education. I realized that I enjoyed higher ed so much more than elementary, and was ready to make a move from the position I currently held. I began working for Baker full-time as an Instructional Designer in 2006. I became involved in many committees that allowed me to participate in improving curriculum, instruction and assessment, and eventually earned my role as the Director of Assessment.
BC: We’re so lucky to count you among the BakerProud for so many years. Tell us more about the responsibilities associated with your role as BC’s Director of Assessment.
AL: I am responsible for Assessment and the Academic Program Review process across the institution. My department ensures that all programs offer a quality education to our students. We continually work with programs to assess student learning so we are able to ensure proficiency of all education outcomes. I also work with the College and program accreditation to ensure that we are adhering to standards and working for continuous quality improvement.
BC: That sounds like an interesting scope of work. Let’s learn a little bit more about how you got here. What is your own educational background?
AL: I have a Bachelor’s Degree in K-6 Education from Western Michigan University, and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Leadership, with a Post Master’s Certificate in Administration, from Oakland University.
BC: And was working in higher education/academia always part of your career plans/interests?
AL: Not at all! Prior to coming to Baker, I was an elementary teacher for grades 3-6 for five years. While teaching, I went back to school thinking that I eventually wanted to be a school principal. Although once I completed my Master’s Degree, I began teaching at Baker. I realized very quickly that I loved higher education and wanted to do more. In 2006, when I began looking for a new teaching position, I happened upon the Instructional Design position that Baker had available, and that is how I got my real start in higher education and academic operations.
BC: The variety of your experience in the educational field is really interesting. What do you like best about your work? Conversely, what do you find most challenging?
AL: Assessment is my true passion. Being able to have an impact on the quality of education that students earn, and ensuring that Baker has quality programs, is what makes all the work worthwhile. I think the most challenging part of my job is to ensure that everything that is needed for all programs and the institution are completed and ready to go each term. There are a lot of moving parts to the assessment process, and things are always changing due to continuous quality improvement planning that occurs each academic year.
BC: You are so lucky to love what you do, and we expect that you’ll be doing it for years to come. That said, what trends or changes do you foresee in the near future for higher education?
AL: I can see that there will be even more emphasis on assessing the quality of education we offer our students. We must not only be able to say that we offer quality programs and courses, but we must also be able to provide evidence to prove it. Institutional accreditors, as well as individual program accreditors, have put more and more emphasis on assessment of outcomes, and I can see how meeting these standards will become even more challenging in the changing landscape of higher education.
BC: Tell us a bit about your recent honor, being named one of APL nextED’s “Outstanding Women in Leading Academic Operations.” What does this recognition mean to you?
AL: I was honored as one of four, “Outstanding Women in Leading Academic Operations” during Women’s History Month in March. It was an amazing honor to be chosen from the numerous individuals who impact Higher Education. Academic Operations has many moving parts, and many of these actions are done behind the scenes in order to launch a successful term. I take great pride in ensuring that we know whether individuals learn what they are expected to learn. It has always been an important part of education to me, whether it is teaching students, faculty or other staff members. If learners do not understand the content being presented, then they are not afforded the opportunity to excel, and this is something that we have the power to impact as they complete our programs. Being awarded this recognition makes all of the work that we put in each day worth it. It tells me that it is a necessary part of what we do and we are impacting change each day.
BC: It certainly seems the honor was well deserved, congratulations! As you are enjoying success in your own career, what best piece of career advice would you share with current college students?
AL: The best piece of career advice that I could give to a current student is never give up! If you set a goal and put your mind to it, you can achieve it! Also, be open to new opportunities. The path that we choose initially may not always work out as expected. New opportunities arise for a reason…be sure to investigate each, as you never know where a new road will lead.
BC: Wonderful advice from someone who has pursued those unexpected opportunities! As part of the Baker family, what would you want others to know/understand about Baker College, its programs and students?
AL: Baker College strives for student success. We will do whatever is necessary to support students and enable them to successfully graduate from quality programs. We are never done working and improving to provide students with the best programs, courses, faculty and facilities, giving them the tools for a successful future.
BC: Thank you for sharing your time and insights with us, Anne!