Office of the Provost
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
As Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Davis Baird is the chief academic officer of Clark University. Reporting to the President, the Provost oversees all undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as well as student affairs, sponsored research, and university libraries.
Baird was named Provost effective August 16, 2010. He holds the academic appointment of Professor in the Department of Philosophy as well.
Davis Baird comes to Clark from the University of South Carolina, where he was Dean of the South Carolina Honors College for five years and the Louise Fry Scudder Professor in the Philosophy Department since 2004. Prior to his time as dean, he chaired the Philosophy Department for 13 years. Before his time at South Carolina, Baird was Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona, where he taught for a year after receiving his PhD in Philosophy from Stanford University. He also holds a Master’s degree in Philosophy of Science from Stanford, and a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Philosophy from Brandeis University.
Baird’s research interest is the philosophy of science and technology. In the area of nanotechnology, as Principal Investigator, he has received more than $3.0 million in funding from the National Science Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation. Prior to his work on nanotechnology, Baird’s research focused on the history and philosophy of scientific instruments. He is interested in the epistemology of scientific instruments, or how the things that we make express our knowledge. He is the author of Thing Knowledge: A Philosophy of Scientific Instruments (University of California Press, 2004), which won the 2006 Paul Bunge Prize. As the son of Walter Baird, co-founder of one of the early developers of spectrographic instrumentation, he follows a familial interest.
Baird is also the author of Inductive Logic: Inferring the Unknown (Prentice Hall, 1992; Pearson Publishing, 1999) and is co-editor of Discovering the Nanoscale (IOS press, 2004) and of two collections published in the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science series: Heinrich Hertz: Classical Physicist, Modern Philosopher (Kluwer, 1994) and Philosophy of Chemistry: Synthesis of a New Discipline (Spring, 2006).
His core research focus is on the function of scientific images, particularly images of nanoscale objects. In addition, he is pursuing research on commercialization of scientific knowledge.
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