Associate Professor, Teaching Stream
Prof. Baker’s research centres on education in three different streams. First, and in collaboration with Prof. Innocente and a small group of UTM ROP students, she investigates best practices in test preparation in large, introductory courses like Introduction to Sociology (SOC100) at UTM. Many classes at campuses across North America are increasing in size. This can have a number of different effects on the classroom, including maxed-out resources, limited opportunities for small group work, and a greater difficulty in reaching individual students. The research project aims to develop best practices in test preparation to learn more about how to use online options, develop small communities within a large, introductory classroom, and optimize the role of the instructor and TAs, without requiring a significant increase in resources. Second, and in collaboration with Prof. Mullen (at UTSC), Prof. Baker is conducting a computerized audit study to examine the degree of institutional segregation among Canadian university institutions. Will a (fictional) job applicant be more successful applying to local jobs with a degree from one university, or another? Third, Prof. Baker explores various patterns in the relationship between gender and education. In her dissertation, she explored how elite single-gender private schools simultaneously create and reproduce class and gender and how these institutional-level processes are accepted or rejected by students. Her data was derived from an in-depth ethnography of two Toronto-area single-gender elite private schools.
While Prof. Baker sees research as a crucial component of sociology and an important link to teaching, her interest has always been in teaching. She enjoys teaching and mentoring undergraduate students and introducing them to sociological thinking. Prof. Baker teaches courses in introduction to sociology, research methods, and the sociology of education, and has also taught courses in classical and contemporary theory.