Honors College Dean accepts job in Massachusetts
Dr. Davis Baird, dean of the South Carolina Honors College since 2005, has accepted the top academic position at Clark University, where he will be vice president of academic affairs and provost.
Clark, located in Worcester, Mass., bills itself as the smallest research university in the country. It was founded in 1887 as the nation's first graduate-only institution and began admitting undergraduates early in the 20th century.
"Clark has a strong focus on multi-disciplinary research, which is very close to my heart," Baird said.
Provost Michael Amiridis said Baird has had an enormous impact on Carolina and its students as a department chair and as dean of the Honors College.
"Dean Baird has been an outstanding leader for the Honors College and a distinguished member of the Carolina faculty," Amiridis said. "He served the university well for three decades -- as a dedicated teacher, mentor and scholar; as a very successful department chair; and as an excellent dean. During this period he had a strong positive impact on the lives of numerous students and for this we are grateful to him. I know he will be equally successful at Clark University and wish him the best."
During Baird's tenure, USC's Honors College grew from 1,100 students to an anticipated enrollment of 1,300 this fall. Plans are in place to expand to 1,600 students by 2015. Baird maintained an average class size of 14, doubled the number of minority students in the Honors College and created an internship program.
Among his innovations was a requirement for Honors College students called "Honors Beyond the Classroom," which aims to better connect students' classroom education with places where they can put it to work and get real-world experience. Students are required to earn three honors credit hours from undergraduate research, service learning, study abroad or an internship.
Baird said his biggest accomplishment as dean was the opening of the new Honors Residence in fall 2009. The 537-bed living and learning community earned a Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation from the U.S. Green Building Council. Honors students who live there are given many opportunities to get involved in campus life. Classrooms and faculty offices are located in the main building to support students in their academic pursuits.
Before becoming Honors College dean, Baird was the chair of USC's philosophy department for 13 years. Under his leadership, the department was listed as an "up and coming department to watch" by the Philosophical Gourmet and was in the top 30 departments in philosophy of science and in the top five in the philosophy of physics.
Baird holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and philosophy from Brandeis University, and master's and doctorate degrees in philosophy from Stanford.