Derek E. Baird has been invited by the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles and Dr. Mercedes Fisher, professor of education of Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology, to pilot a tolerance program. Baird’s goal is to create an interactive environment that will be instrumental for the Tools of Tolerance program in the museum.
“As curriculum developer, Dr. Fisher and I will design and implement face-to-face and online training for law enforcement, educators, and the National Institute Against Hate Crimes,” Baird explained.
He also intends to adapt these courses for online learning. “This will help uniformed and civilian personnel understand the dynamics of racism, bigotry, and discrimination and engage them in discussions about tolerance, diversity, and effective responses to situations in law enforcement,” said Baird.
His previous experiences have helped prepare him for this task. He co-founded BlendedEDU, a web log that focuses on assisting education professionals to integrate web-based social networking media, such as blogs and newsgroups, into traditional and online classroom environments. Working with Maryanne Campo, Distributed Learning director at Northern Mariana College, Baird created the site as part of a presentation at the Washington Association for Learning Alternatives teachers’ conference.
Baird also consulted with the Joseph H. Pendleton Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars. This veteran auxiliary group worked with him to integrate social media applications into their conferences. His work was put into action at the 2004 Youth Leadership Conference, held at the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton.
A 1994 alumnus of the American Studies major, Baird attributes his achievements to dedicated professors at BYU. “I owe much of my postBYU success to Dr. Neil York, Dr. Richard Cracroft, and Dr. Martha Bradley,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough for the foundation of knowledge they helped me construct, pushing me to develop critical thinking skills, and being such supportive, encouraging mentors.” Baird continues a relationship with the Kennedy Center when he seeks advice or counsel. “Those types of relationships are what make BYU and the American Studies program so great!” he concluded.