Posts Tagged ‘Steve Baker’

‘World’ Languages Department makes debut

By David Hurst

Professor Yolanda Guerrero says among the last steps of the World Languages department's transition is to change its signs and stationary

Professor Yolanda Guerrero, chairperson of Grossmont's World Languages department, says that among the last steps of the World Languages department's transition is to change its signs and stationary. (Photo: Russ Lindquist)

GROSSMONT COLLEGE – What’s in a word? In academia, one word may make a world of difference. For example, what once was known as the Foreign Languages Department now is called the World Languages Department.

Yolanda Guerrero, the head of the newly named World Language Department led the proposal for the change. She said that, “The word ‘foreign’ itself has a negative connotation of not belonging.” Making the name change started with a vote among professors from all eight of the language subjects in the World Language department at Grossmont, followed by approval from Dean Steve  Baker, other administrators, and the District Board.

The process began during the Spring Semester of 2011, “The name change is officially in place this semester,” says Guerrero, although changes have yet to made to such things as the stationary, cards, and signs.

Guerrero said that the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages is attempting to make the name change at many other colleges and Universities and noted that Cuyamaca College, Southwestern College, and Mesa College has also made the switch.

Baker, dean of the arts, humanities, languages and communications, said the name change reflects a wish to “avoid stigma and create inclusiveness” for people who speak languages other than English , a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He explained that the word “foreigners” frequently has been used in a derogatory way since those attacks.

Cheryl-anne Phillips, president of the Associated Students of Grossmont College, declared the move to be “political correctness – it’s political correctness.” On the other hand, Tina Howell, president of Phi Theta Kappa, said “I think it’s good. We are all here on campus and all languages of the world are being spoken right here at Grossmont.”

Henceforth, if you study a non-English language at Grossmont, it will be under the auspices of the World Language Department. If you call the department by any other name, that might be considered foreign.


Hurst is a student in Media Comm 132.  He may be contacted at

Hurdling Obstacles: the theme of Grossmont’s 2011 graduation ceremonies

Grossmont College commencement, Spring 2011 (Rick Deharo, Grossmont College Photo Major)

Story and Following Photos by Russ Lindquist

GROSSMONT COLLEGE–Thousands cheered as newly graduated Grossmont Griffins received long-awaited acknowledgement of their achievements.  An estimated 1,500 students received degrees, certificates or in some cases both, at a ceremony June 1 in the Main Quad.

Student speaker Timothy Snowball shared his turbulent educational journey, with a crowd estimated at 4,000–a journey that now brings him to having been graduated from Grossmont with honors, with Associate’s Degrees in Political Science and University Studies.  Snowball indeed had a chance in hell, having weathered Depression and Anxiety Disorder and having dropped out of high school; thereafter, whenever he spoke to friends and co-workers about returning to school, they scoffed at him.

Undeterred, he spent three years at Grossmont, along the way having joined Phi Theta Kappa, an international academic honors society.  He said that his eventual aim is a degree in Law.  Between then and now, he said that he plans to gain a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.  For this leg of his life’s race, Snowball has won acceptance to UCSD, UCLA and UC Berkeley.  Now, he can take his pick.

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A busy month of May for the arts at Grossmont

By William Dudley
GROSSMONT COLLEGE– Jazz by the bay and spirits at the Stagehouse highlight the offerings for Grossmont College arts lovers this month.

All that Jazz

The third annual Jazz All Stars concert will take place at Humphreys by the Bay on May 2. There will actually be two concerts. The first, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., is a family concert open to all ages, and will feature straight-ahead jazz performed by members of Grossmont’s music faculty. Among the performers will be Steve Baker on piano, Paul Kurokawa on trumpet, and Doug Booth on guitar.

The second concert, beginning at 9:30, is for the 21-and-over crowd, and will have a more Caribbean/Latin dance feel. It will feature the Afro-Cuban Ensemble led by Derek Cannon, Ritmo Caribe, and Manny Cepeda.

Tickets are $18 general and $10 for Grossmont students, and are available at Humphreys Box Office at (619) 224-3577.

The concert is a benefit for the Grossmont College Music Scholarships. This program helps Grossmont music majors pay for the private lessons required as part of their studies.

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New campus buildings for arts programs envisioned

Summit staff report

GROSSMONT COLLEGE – A new Performing Arts Center may rise on campus in the vicinity of Lot 1, partly in recognition that the arts do not simply provide entertainment, they are an important source of employment in California.

Steve Baker, dean for arts, languages and communications, said that the center would serve as a cultural arts magnet for the East County, assuming that voters approve a major bond measure that would be put on the ballot within two years.

Another project proposed for such a construction bond measure would be the remodeling of Grossmont College’s arts complex, with a second floor for offices and the refurbishment of the Hyde Art Gallery, he said.

With 5,000 students enrolled in the courses in Baker’s division, he is responsible for course offerings for approximately one-fourth the 20,000-member student body, the dean said during an impromptu press conference with the Summit on Tuesday, Oct. 19.

The dean reported that a slight uptick in the state’s financial picture has led to the news that he will be able next semester to add four class sections in his division – an average of a half section per department.

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Juanita Browne personifies life-long learning concept

By Masada Ellis

Masada Ellis

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — A calm essence surrounds the patiently waiting Dr. Juanita Browne as she sits in her motorized chair in front of the Music Department building 222, waiting for her class to begin. Dr. Browne is not there to teach the class.  She’s there to be a student. 

Ten years into Retirement following a 25-year career as a member of the Grossmont faculty, she says she is enjoying this role reversal. “The role that I ‘play’ is the role of the student (which I am) nothing else,” states Dr. Browne. “I am not active on Grossmont’s Campus. I find it challenging enough to be a student.”

She has taken a multitude of classes at Grossmont including Cross Cultural Studies with Dr. T. Ford and A. Danny Martinez; Spanish I to IV and CSpanish Conversation I and 2 with Paul Vincent and E. Talamantes; Sociology with Israel Cardona and numeorous history courses. 

In the Music Department, Browne has studied with Dean Steve Baker, Derek Cannon, Paul Kurokawa, Kenneth Ard, M. Grinnell. M. Rodewald and Kenneth Anderson,  She is now studying  with Professors Cannon and Anderson. 

“I believe education is extremely important and that one can always learn,” she stated. 

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Jamming with the dean in the Mod Village


The dean on his office piano

Story and photos by Robert Sanchez


Robert Sanchez

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — Hunched over the keys, eyes shut; Steve Baker plays some ragtime on  his vintage Aerosonic piano in his office in the Deanery of Grossmont College’s Modular Village.

Dean of the arts, language and communications programs, Baker has intensive training in the one thing that links the three areas together– communication– as well as in music performance and music theory.  He went to UCSD for his B.A., and to SDSUand Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for graduate school. By weekday, Baker is a college dean.   Some evenings and weekends, he’s in a different groove.

Passionate about his music, Baker still performs in shows, including the Grossmont faculty concert. He also helps with the Trolley Dances, in which members of the Jean Isaacs’ San Diego Dance Theater ride the San Diego Trolley to different stops, performing original choreography at the stations.   Married to the group’s founder, modern dancer Jean Isaacs,  Baker helps with sound re-enforcement, and recording or playing pieces of music as needed. 

Baker maintains in his home a recording and mastering studio, where he is able to produce not only his own work but those of other artists.

Hands on the Aerosonic

Dean Steve Baker

Through his parents Gospel quartets, Baker came to the music at a very young age. He was particularly influenced by their piano player Bill Lee, who rocked. “He could have given Jerry Lee Lewis a run for his money” Baker said.  Inspired, Baker took piano lessons and traded in his bike for a guitar.  He knew having many music experiences was what he wanted to do.

What unifies his vocation and avocation? Always a musician at heart, Baker like to think of himself as a Muse,  coordinating the departments in his division, encouraging their performances, modeling what students will be doing throughout their careers, and refining methods of Communication.

Sanchez is a student in Media Comm 132