University News

Annual Honor Lecture to Feature Econ. Prof. Joe Baker

Published: September 12, 2008 | Category: Academics

Southern Utah University is proud to announce that Dr. Joe Baker, professor and chair of SUU’s Department of Economics, will speak at this year’s Grace A. Tanner Distinguished Faculty Honor Lecture on Tuesday, September 16, at 11:30 a.m. in the SUU Auditorium.

Baker’s lecture, “Class, Ability, Mobility: Is it Better to be Rich or Smart?” will also serve as the first of SUU’s University Convocations presentations for the 2008-09 school year.

Following the presentation and a brief question-and-answer session with Baker in the Auditorium, the campus and local communities are invited to congratulate Baker in person at a reception on the Garden Level of the Sherratt Library, from 1-2:30 p.m.

Baker’s tenure as the Distinguished Faculty Lecturer marks the 29th annual presentation through the Grace A. Tanner Center. When asked of his thoughts about representing SUU’s academic community in this fashion, Baker responded, “Given the talented faculty on this campus, I consider it a special honor to be selected to give the Tanner lecture.”

This annual faculty lecture series is sponsored SUU’s Grace Adams Tanner Center for Human Values. The featured presenter is selected based on the academic merits of his or her work, including, scholarly research, measured contributions to the lecturer’s respective field, and the topic’s broad appeal to SUU’s academic community at large.

Baker’s lecture is based on his forthcoming article for the Journal of Education Finance. According to Baker, the article and his presentation will question “to what extent can academic ability overcome meager economic resources, and to what extent can affluence overcome meager academic ability?”

Baker’s studies examined “the academic and economic paths of two groups of eighth graders through early adulthood: students with high academic ability who are living in low-income families, and students with mediocre academic ability who are living in affluent families.”

Joe Garrett Baker was awarded a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Utah in 1977. He joined the SUU faculty in 1997 and is Professor of Managerial Economics in the School of Business. Before joining SUU Dr. Baker did policy-related research at the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education in Oak Ridge Tennessee and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C.

Baker has authored numerous scholarly articles and reports. He has served on three advisory panels for the National Institutes for Health, is a member of the Utah State Council on Economic Education Board of Directors, has been a National Science Foundation faculty research participant, and is a member of the Utah Parents for Choice Advisory Board. Dr. Baker participated in the U.S. Department of Education International Economic Education Exchange Program in Prague Czech Republic and was a consultant to the President’s National Commission on Coal. In 2000-01 Dr. Baker was named as SUU’s Outstanding Educator.

The Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values seeks to promote access to scholarly and scientific learning in all areas of human values, which embrace moral, artistic, intellectual and spiritual concepts. The resources within the Tanner Room, located on the Garden Level of the Gerald R. Sherratt Library, provide a focal point for the pursuit of these ideals. The room’s collection includes bound copies of each of the past 28 SUU faculty Tanner lectures.

Additional information on this fall’s University Convocations line-up can be found at

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