Robert K. Baron, 79, a retired U.S. Information Agency officer who then taught English at Howard University and the University of Maryland, died Dec. 14 at his home in McLean.

He had cancer, said his wife, Barbara Baron.

Mr. Baron joined USIA in 1963 and was a cultural affairs officer in Venezuela, Colombia, Serbia and the former Yugoslavia. His other assignments included program coordinator for Eastern Europe and chief of the old Yugoslavia branch of Voice of America.

He was a director of USIA’s Arts America program, which sponsored tours of popular U.S. artists abroad, before he retired from the agency in 1988.

Mr. Baron, who settled in the Washington area in 1977, taught English part time at Prince George’s Community College from 1978 to 1987. After his USIA retirement, he became an English professor at Howard University.

He taught technical writing and advanced composition at the University of Maryland from 1996 until his retirement in 1999. He then worked part time as an English composition, writing and language tutor.

Robert Kerin Baron was a Philadelphia native. He received a bachelor’s degree in radio and television communications in 1954 and a master’s degree in English literature in 1959, both from Temple University in Philadelphia. In the late 1950s, he served in the Army Transportation Corps.

Mr. Baron appeared in plays at the McLean Community Center.

Survivors include his wife of 50 years, Barbara Weglicki Baron of McLean; two daughters, Victoria Baron of Fairfax and Elizabeth Baron of Kernersville, N.C.; a brother; and one granddaughter.

— Megan McDonough