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Meet the Dean: Stefi Baum, Faculty of Science

January 20, 2015 — 

Stefi Baum joined the U of M as the dean of the Faculty of Science and professor of physics and astronomy in October 2014. UM Today sat down with Baum to learn more about the direction of the faculty, and what unique ideas that she brings to the University.

What is your vision for the faculty moving forward?

The Faculty of Science is a place to experience, experiment, explore and learn as we discover the unknown and invent the future.

We value:

Open Minds: As scientists, we value the creation and free exchange of new ideas and we challenge ourselves to be open to new evidence, new ideas, and new connections.

Learning as Discovery: We embrace the inextricable link between first-rate research and first-rate education.

Initiative: We strive for exceptional science education and scientific research, recognizing that to do so we must “Take risks. Ask big questions.” (H. Packard).

Integrity: We value all aspects of integrity, “the quality of being honest and fair”, and “the state of being whole and complete” (Webster’s); in our research, in our teaching, in our desire for diversity, in our building of a sense of community, and in our dedication to the success of the individual as well as the reputation of the Faculty as a whole.

Wonder: Every day, we are reminded of the wonder of discovery, the understanding of the natural world it brings, and the power it provides to quantify, model, and build a better future. We aim to share that wonder broadly with our students, with Winnipeg, with Manitoba, and with the world.

What unique perspective do you bring to the faculty?

I came to the U of M Faculty of Science from a position leading an interdisciplinary research and education center that maintained a deep student focus from undergraduate through PhD,  including K-12 outreach, that sat at the juncture of discovery, application, and engineering, that spanned a broad range of scientific, mathematical, and computational disciplines, that had a very strong record of external research funding and that had an interest in piloting new approaches.

Learning to talk and collaborate together to grow our research and improve our students’ educational experiences was incredibly rewarding in this context. Perhaps the most unique perspective I got from this is to appreciate the benefit of being willing to see things from different perspectives, forge new and sometimes unexpected connections, and take risks trying out new ideas.

What pursuits do you enjoy beyond academia?

Being active outside with all facets of nature and the amazing world we live in – including [my] dogs…walking, hiking, biking, [and] gardening.

[I also enjoy] reading… all sorts of different things; cooking and family.

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