What is it that distinguishes a leader from a manager? Vision, passion, dedication, the willingness to listen and the ability to translate challenges into opportunities in a way that recognizes and benefits the group rather than the individual. As Kim Baines relinquishes the title of Chair of the Department of Chemistry, after two successful terms in this leadership role, she delivers an organization that has undergone visionary, structural, strategic and administrative change and is better for it.
The building of the MSA set the tone for departmental focus on materials research. The redesign of the first year labs, offered Chemistry undergraduates the opportunity to develop knowledge and skill in an unparalleled learning environment and the design of a master renovation plan to remodel and substantially upgrade Chemistry’s research facilities and tools positively positions the Department of Chemistry well into it future.
Active listening is a Baines trademark. Her colleagues and staff were encouraged and empowered to think strategically, in the best interests of the group and share their insights. The result was a restructuring of the department along the lines of collaborative research themes. This cultural change was adopted and paid tangible dividends as the number of papers published and the number of citations per faculty member increased substantially. The list of achievements goes on to include administrative changes, expanding relationships with industry and forging closer relationships between them and students to ensure more high impact learning and career opportunities.
Baines summarizes her approach to leadership commenting, “A shared vision is where people are free to speak their minds. I feel our department is now moving in one direction and I feel that we pull together.”
As she prepares to pass the torch, her colleague and the forthcoming Chair of Chemistry Yining Huang has this to say about Kim Baines “Kim has been a great leader. She is such an advocate for the department and laid down solid foundations upon which we can and will move forward.”
Western Science and the Department of Chemistry thank Kim Baines for her contributions as a strong and inspired leader.