Baxter Named CMU Assistant Dean

Cathy BaxterCentral Methodist University now has a department dedicated to providing programs, services and support to its dynamic international student population. 

Fayette resident Catherine Baxter, former associate director of admission at CMU, has been named assistant dean for its International Student Services and its Study Abroad programs.

In her new position, she will plan, implement, and monitor all aspects of the international programs including the study abroad programs, and host family program. She will be the primary advisor for all international students, and be responsible for the coordination of orientation, as well as other educational programs for international students.

Baxter will serve as the primary designated school official (PDSO), with responsibilities related to international student enrollment and administrative services with a focus on admissions, credential evaluation, regulatory compliance, student programming, and engagement.

Beginning in the fall, CMU will offer what Baxter describes as “an exciting cultural experience” to the greater community:  Friendship Families.  This cross-cultural program will provide area families with an opportunity to establish a relationship with an international student – thus learning about another country’s culture, and introduce international students to American family life.

“Having a family to interact with will help reduce student homesickness and ease the adjustment into a new place,” Baxter said. “This program offers local families a chance to experience the wider world without leaving home.”

Before being named Assistant Dean, Baxter served CMU in a variety of roles since her first position there – a part-time data entry clerk – in 2006. She has held titles including campus visit coordinator, transfer coordinator, assistant director of admission, and associate director of admission.  

She also served the Fayette School District as a substitute teacher, and had previously worked accidents, claims and insurance for a transportation company, and as a certified court interpreter.

An alumna of CMU, she earned a Master’s in Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. Additionally, she completed post-graduate work in Education Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Missouri in Columbia.  

Baxter is a member of The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA), and the Mid-Missouri Advisors to International Students (MAIN). She represents CMU on the board for Study Missouri – a collaborative coalition of two and four year Missouri Higher Education institutions and the Missouri State Department of Higher Education.  

She serves on the board for Endless Options, and is also a member of the Fayette Rotary Club, the Howard County DAR, Colonial Dames, and P.E.O. Chapter NN. Long dedicated to community service wherever she lived, has served on the board for Habitat for Humanity, as a Community Literacy Volunteer, and was named Tennessee Volunteer of the Year in 1998 for her work with a 40-year old deaf Spanish speaker, who could not read or write.

He had been taught English with the American Sign Language system, but could not communicate with his Spanish speaking family.  Baxter designed a method of correlating English, American Sign Language and Spanish, using symbols and everyday objects to help him transfer knowledge to gain comprehension and successfully learn to read and write.

“I have the best job in the world,” Baxter said of her newest opportunity at CMU. “I am extremely excited to continue to work with all of our amazing students, faculty and staff.”

Baxter will be working with the office of Student Development and collaborating with all campus and community stakeholders to provide access to a broad array of resources for students.

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