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 athletics, student affairs, sponsored research, university libraries, and the registrar’s office.
Baird is a principal architect of Clark’s new model for undergraduate education, Liberal Education and Effective Practice, and is also working on a significant expansion of Clark’s graduate studies footprint. He was a primary driver behind the creation and launch of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Davis Baird came to Clark in 2010 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 Ph.D. 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. He is also pursuing research on the commercialization of scientific knowledge and on the function of scientific images.
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).