Employee of the Quarter Alex Baker knows the importance of having guidance and support as a student navigating your college career, having been a first-generation college student himself.
“There were many obstacles I faced during school that I wish I had guidance or assistance with,” Alex said. “One of the best parts about my job is that I’m able to be that support for all of our students.”
The College of Education (COE) graduate alumnus has served multiple roles on campus since 2015, starting as a Residence Hall Manager while earning his master’s in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration. In 2018, he transitioned to the Office of the Dean of Students and has been there since, first as a Case Manager and now as the Campus Assessment Response and Evaluation (CARE) Team and Student Support Program Director.
“As a Residence Hall Manager – my first job out of undergrad – I was able to gain experience in a variety of areas – notably, student conduct and support, navigating difficult conversations and student case management,” said Alex. “Because of this experience, the Case Manager position felt like a natural next step for me and has led to me continuing to learn new skills and growing as a professional.”
In addition to these roles, he’s been faculty since 2018, lecturing in the COE in Diversity and Inclusiveness in Higher Education, along with Allyship and Advocacy in Higher Education – a course he developed. He’s also been part of the Staff Association, serving as Vice President in 2020, President in 2021 and Past-President in 2022, and is a self-proclaimed “avid crafter.”
“I love to make and create, and enjoy cooking, reading, video and board games, movies and music – and am obsessed with all things Disney,” shared Alex.
As CARE Team and Student Support Program Director, Alex takes on many crucial roles and responsibilities championing for students and providing support for them not only in academics, but any areas they may need assistance in.
“The CARE Team plays a pivotal role in fostering a safe and supportive environment for our students at UCCS,” Alex explained. “We serve as a safety net, proactively identifying and addressing concerns related to student well-being, safety and success.”
“Whether it’s offering guidance on mental health resources, addressing behavioral issues or connecting students with appropriate services, my focus is always on student wellbeing and success,” he added. “It’s a dynamic role that blends administrative duties, interpersonal skills and a deep commitment to ensuring every student receives the support they need to thrive academically and personally.”
Though no two days are ever the same for Alex, collaboration with students, staff and faculty is a regular part of his position. He is also often assessing student cases, evaluating possible risks and developing intervention strategies.
“By intervening early and collaboratively, we aim to prevent crises and provide holistic care to students,” said Alex. “The CARE Team acts as a central hub, bringing together diverse expertise from across the university to develop tailored solutions for individual student needs.”
Alex hopes to build on the growth he’s already done much of during his several years of service, and to continue learning and adding to his diverse skill set.
“I aim to keep expanding my skills and knowledge, staying in the know of the latest developments in higher education,” he said. “This relentless pursuit of learning is not just about enhancing my professional capabilities, but also about enriching my understanding of the world and the people in it.”
“Furthermore, a core aspect of my future aspirations is to foster kindness, both within myself and in the world around me,” he continued. “In my role at UCCS, and through my interactions in the community, I hope to be a constant reminder of the importance of compassion and empathy.”
Between this attitude, and his years of advocating for students in various roles, Alex’s devotion to UCCS is obvious.
“I have loved watching the campus grow,” he said. “I have loved feeling like I’m part of something bigger and having the ability to help continue pushing the campus in a positive direction, and I love the team of people that I work with.”
Clearly the feeling is mutual, from what Alex’s colleagues have to say.
“Alex has consistently demonstrated outstanding performance within our institution,” said Amanda Allee, Dean of Students. “During the first few weeks of the semester, Alex managed a 157% increase in CARE Team reports, navigating this while understaffed. This accomplishment not only reflects his competence, but also his tireless dedication to the welfare of our students.”
“Alex is not only a dedicated professional but also a team player with a great sense of camaraderie,” Allee continued. “He is always up for a bit of ‘support shenanigans,’ which not only lightens the workplace atmosphere but also fosters a sense of unity among our staff. His ability to bring positivity and enthusiasm to the team is truly commendable.”
Alex has come full circle from first-gen student to his role supporting and advocating for fellow first-generation and other students, a journey he’s rightfully proud of.
“Being the first in my family to graduate with both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree is a milestone that holds immense significance for me,” said Alex. “This accomplishment represents not just academic success, but also a personal triumph over various challenges. Also, as a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, I value the strength and resilience that have been integral to my journey. I take great pride in being part of a vibrant campus community at UCCS, where I can contribute positively and embrace my true self.”
Being named Employee of the Quarter is a culmination of that journey and hard work put in during his time here.
“Receiving this award holds deep significance for me and symbolizes recognition of the hard work, dedication and passion I’ve invested in my roles at UCCS,” Alex said. “This award is not just a testament to my achievements but also a validation of the values and principles I’ve upheld, and a reminder of the importance of perseverance, creativity and the commitment to continuous learning and improvement.”
“Moreover, as a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community, this award holds an added layer of meaning,” he said. “It represents progress, inclusivity and the breaking down of barriers, serving as an inspiration not only to me but also to others who identify with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Receiving this award is both an honor and a responsibility. It motivates me to keep striving for excellence, to remain a positive influence in my various roles, and to continue making meaningful contributions to my community and the fields I am passionate about.”
About the Employee of the Quarter Award
The Employee of the Quarter program is designed to promote and reward outstanding performance by staff at the university. In recognition of his efforts for UCCS, Alex will receive one day of administrative leave, a $100 stipend, three months of a free and reserved parking space and a $40 voucher to the UCCS Bookstore.
Do you have a colleague whose extraordinary efforts at UCCS deserve to be recognized? Nominate them for the Employee of the Quarter award.