Retired CSUSB professor honored by government of Thailand with excellence in education award

     

Rosalie Giacchino-Baker, who retired at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year as faculty director of the Center for International Studies and Programs at Cal State San Bernardino, capped a distinguished career with an honor from the government of Thailand for excellence in education.

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Rosalie Giacchino-Baker, the retired faculty director of the Center for International Studies and Programs at CSUSB, capped a distinguished career with an honor from the government of Thailand for excellence in education. Photo: Robert A. Whitehead/CSUSB

Thailand’s deputy minister of technology and education, Wiboon Shamsheun, visited the Cal State San Bernardino campus to personally give Giacchino-Baker the Golden Elephant Award, which is the highest recognition the government can award for excellence in education.

The award recognized her many years of education work in Thailand and read, “For her tireless effort, effective communication, internationalization, leadership, and active participation in all activities of Surrindra Rajabhat University and Surin International Folklore Festival.”

Jenny Zorn, CSUSB’s associate provost for academic and international programs, said the government gave Giacchino-Baker the award for her years of working with Thailand education officials, universities, teachers and students.

Zorn said Giacchino-Baker made her first trip to Thailand 45 years ago as a newlywed accompanying her husband, Fred Baker, a former Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand who had become a member of the U.S. Foreign Service.

“Rosalie was smitten not just with Fred, but Thailand and its people,” Zorn said. “Since those early days, her linguistic expertise and talents have benefited the work in higher education at many Thai universities as well as our own.  She is a dynamic force in Thai higher education and is highly respected there.  Her fluency in Thai joins her fluency in five other languages.”

Giacchino-Baker’s work with international study programs began with her own college career.  She spent her junior year abroad in Paris, France, studying at the Institute of European Studies and Latin America Institute.  She also received a ‘”Certificat Pratique” in French from the University of Paris IV, La Sorbonne.

She graduated from the College of St. Francis in Joliet, Ill., with a bachelor’s degree in French with a minor in Spanish. She received a master’s degree in French and a Michigan Secondary Teaching Certificate in French and Spanish from Michigan State University, and she received her doctorate in applied linguistics with an emphasis in multicultural and international education from the Claremont Graduate School.

Giacchino-Baker was selected twice to serve as resident director of the California State University system’s International Programs.  In 2003-2004, she was the resident director in Florence, Italy; in 2007-2008 she was the resident director in Aix-en-Provence and Paris, France.

In total, she lived overseas for almost 14 years in countries ranging from Micronesia to Belize to England, where she made many contributions in the field of education.  She served as a multicultural consultant for teacher education programs for an Asian Development Bank Project in Hanoi, Vietnam; as a higher education consultant for a World Bank Project in Tandil, Argentina; as a consultant and lecturer for a World Bank Project in Parit Raja, Malaysia; and as a researcher in the Lao’s People’s Democratic Republic.

As founding faculty director of CISP, Giacchino-Baker was tireless in her efforts to internationalize CSUSB.  She started CSUSB’s Professor Across Borders program and played a major role in organizing and finding initial funding for the Latin American Studies and Asian Studies minors.  She had primary responsibility for CSUSB’s Visiting Scholars, managed international agreements, organized international programming, and served as a Fulbright adviser. She was the founding president of the Gamma Lambda Chapter of Phi Beta Delta, society of international scholars.

As a professor in the CSUSB department of language, literacy and culture, Giacchino-Baker was the author offour books, as well as 39 articles and book chapters in the fields of multicultural and international education.

For more information, contact Cal State San Bernardino’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.