Release courtesy of Johns Hopkins Athletic Communications
BALTIMORE, MD – Johns Hopkins University Provost Sunil Kumar has announced the appointment of Jennifer Baker as the University's Director of Athletics and Recreation. Baker had served as Hopkins' Senior Associate Director of Athletics since September 2017.
Baker becomes just the fifth Director of Athletics and Recreation at Johns Hopkins since 1950 and succeeds Alanna W. Shanahan, who served in the position since July 2016. Shanahan has been promoted to Vice Provost for Student Affairs at Johns Hopkins; she and Baker will transition to their new roles on August 12.
"I'd like to thank Alanna Shanahan, Provost Kumar, and President Daniels for the opportunity to lead the storied and tradition-rich program that is Hopkins Athletics and Recreation," Baker stated. "Johns Hopkins is a unique and special institution, and I am proud of the success of our athletic and recreational programs each and every day. It will be an honor to lead and to serve this department, and to work alongside our campus partners as we advance our relentless pursuit of excellence both in competition, and in the classroom."
Baker has been an integral member of the department's senior-leadership team since her arrival at Homewood nearly two years ago. She has overseen the day-to-day operation of the Department of Athletics with oversight in the planning, development and management of all fiscal and administrative operations. As such, she has directed all revenue-generating initiatives and short and long-term budget planning for Johns Hopkins' highly successful 24-sport varsity athletic program.
In addition, Baker has served as the sport administrator for the Blue Jay women's lacrosse, football, men's and women's basketball and women's soccer programs while also providing administrative support for men's lacrosse. She recently led the search to fill Johns Hopkins' head football coaching position and has been actively involved in the hiring of two other head coaches, several assistant coaches and a number of staff members in athletics and recreation.
Among her many key initiatives at Johns Hopkins has been the launching of a unique leadership development program for Johns Hopkins student athletes (Blue Jays LEAD). The Blue Jays LEAD program made its debut in 2017-18 with a mission of empowering student-athletes to actualize the leader within and inspire action in their communities at Johns Hopkins and beyond.
Baker inherits a program that recently completed perhaps the greatest athletic year in school history. Johns Hopkins placed second in the 2018-19 Learfield IMG College Directors' Cup Standings, claimed 11 conference championships, produced 10 CoSIDA/Google Cloud Academic All-Americans and had 45 student-athletes earn All-America honors. The runner-up finish in the Directors' Cup standings matched the best finish in school history and 20 of Johns Hopkins' 24 teams competed in the NCAA Tournament or Championship.
Baker came to Johns Hopkins from Under Armour, where she served as a Senior Manager of Corporate Real Estate, Facilities and Operations. She was responsible for the daily operation of all UA facilities at its nearby Port Covington headquarters and provided support to all UA offices outside of Baltimore. That support included new facility activation, vendor relationships and energy management. One of Baker's key initiatives at UA was the activation of the company's newest offices in San Francisco and Portland.
Prior to her time at Under Armour, Baker spent three years at Cornell University, where she ascended to the position of Associate Director of Athletics for Facilities and played an integral role in the oversight of all internal department operations as a member of the senior leadership team. She was responsible for all athletic facilities, and integral in the budgeting, planning and programming of all related projects.
During her time at Cornell, Baker also designed and developed the Big Red Leadership Institute (BRLI), a program for more than 500 student-athletes across all 37 varsity athletic teams at the school. The BRLI delivered key leadership concepts set in the athletics context with a mission of building confident leaders and followers who provided immediate impact to their teams and communities.
With the BRLI, Baker implemented five separate, but complementary, proprietary developmental curricula for five distinct student cohorts (freshmen, sophomores, juniors, non-captain seniors and captains). Each group moved through a unique curriculum designed specifically for their class year and corresponding level of influence and responsibility.
Baker is a co-founder of Athletics Leadership Consulting (ALC), whose mission is to make leadership development accessible to all athletes, coaches and organizational support staff. ALC leverages athletics as a tool for leadership education as it designs and delivers original content that allows athletes to develop leadership and teamwork skills as an integrated component of their competitive experience.
Baker graduated from the United States Naval Academy with a degree in aerospace engineering and was a member of the Academy's women's lacrosse club team. After the Naval Academy, Baker spent seven years in the Navy, including three years as a pilot and four as a construction manager and facilities engineer. She later earned an MBA and a master's in mechanical engineering from Cornell.
A Baltimore area native, Baker attended nearby Hereford High School, where she was a member of the girl's lacrosse program. She later helped lead the club lacrosse team to a national championship at the Naval Academy. Baker's father (David Dowell '66), uncle (Brice Dowell '70) and grandfather (Robert Dowell '38) are all Johns Hopkins graduates.