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Dr. Jill M. Baren was unanimously selected by the Lake Forest College Board of Trustees to assume the appointment of Lake Forest College’s 14th President. A physician, educator, and researcher, Baren brings to the chair nearly 30 years of experience in academic medicine and higher education administration, as well as a deep appreciation and understanding of the liberal arts. Following President Stephen Schutt’s 21-year term, Baren became president in July 2022.
Baren, who previously served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Science in Philadelphia, became the university’s 14th president in July 2022. She is the first female president in the university’s history. As an academic and medical leader, she has demonstrated her commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion by challenging existing paradigms and positively transforming the organizations in which she is involved. “I think leadership needs to constantly apply dedicated resources to create an inclusive culture,” said Ella Baren.
At the University of Sciences, Baren helped create several initiatives to improve recruitment and retention of a more diverse faculty. Focusing on issues of social mobility, she also encouraged the development of partnerships with local organizations in Philadelphia to provide underrepresented high school students with visible role models and support for their career aspirations. When she served as president of the American Board of Emergency Medicine from 2019 to 2020, Baren established the first working group on diversity, equity and inclusion and succeeded in changing the culture and composition of the executive committee to 67 percent women and minorities. underrepresented. in just two years.
Baren’s education and passion for the liberal arts began at Brown University, where he studied biochemistry in preparation for medical school. A dedicated student of hers, she was conscious of balancing her science courses with courses in the social sciences, arts, and humanities. Baren then earned his MD from the University of Pittsburgh with postgraduate clinical training completed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California. Baren then earned a Master of Science in medical ethics from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Brandeis University. Baren’s career path has been based on her strong belief in interdisciplinary skills and pragmatic expertise.
“Early in my professional career as an academic physician, I felt a tremendous calling to seek training in ethics and make deeper connections with humanists within and outside of my field. This had a tremendous impact on my subsequent teaching, research, and professional interactions.”
Baren’s teaching career began at the UCLA School of Medicine, and her career as an educator and researcher continued through her roles at Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of the Sciences. Her experience as an educator has directly informed her organization’s approach to higher education, as well as her aspirations as president. “The student is truly the sacred center of decision-making in higher education, and as a campus leader, I deliberately and frequently engage with students to hear their unique voices on what is important to their future,” Baren said. In addition to her administrative and educational experience, Baren is a prolific scholar who has published over 90 scholarly articles and several books in the field of emergency medicine.
“I am excited about the unique brand that Lake Forest College has created by marrying a strong liberal arts tradition with exceptional professional preparation and pragmatism,” shared Baren. “This fresh, modern approach resonates strongly with my passion and values of higher education purpose and has driven my own educational choices and career decisions.” Baren has applied for millions of dollars in major grants and support over the past 15 years and is cultivating meaningful relationships around a shared interest in the values and vision of Lake Forest College.
Baren’s commitment and understanding of Lake Forest College’s educational approach will help propel the college into the future. “Small liberal arts colleges are one of our country’s greatest educational assets,” Baren said. “They offer tremendous personalized attention through highly qualified and motivated teachers who are committed to the teacher-scholar model and a values-based education that is difficult to replicate elsewhere.”