Ian Baucom is the Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia, appointed in 2014.
Under his leadership, Arts & Sciences launched its new College Curriculum to better prepare undergraduate students for 21st-century lives through a variety of means—especially as a result of a reimagined first-year student experience. The new curriculum begins its implementation phase over the course of the 2020-21 academic year, building on the success of a three-year pilot program that attracted more than 1,900 students.
In addition, Baucom is working to advance the research mission and to further strengthen graduate programs based on an examination of the Graduate School’s current state and future ambitions. Under his guidance, significant investments have been made in the Graduate School to help draw the most talented graduate students and researchers to UVA.
At the same time, he has partnered with colleagues across the University to form the Democracy Initiative, to enhance UVA’s brain science and environmental initiatives through faculty cluster hires and other programs, and to help launch global programs like UVA London First. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Baucom collaborated with University leaders to create UVA Launchpad, an online eight-week summer program designed to prepare students for the world of work by combining liberal arts coursework, technical “bootcamp” style training, and career-focused projects with real-world companies.
Over the past six years, in the midst of a generational turnover of esteemed faculty, Baucom has worked with UVA colleagues to attract more than 150 renowned faculty members to the College and has encouraged a culture of innovation. He continues to emphasize the importance of recruiting at the highest level of excellence and enhancing the faculty’s diversity.
Baucom came to UVA after serving 17 years in Duke University’s Department of English as a professor and as the director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. He is the author of Out of Place: Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity, and Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History. He is the co-editor of Shades of Black: Assembling Black Arts in 1980s Britain. His latest book, History 4° Celsius, released August 2020, places Black studies into conversation with climate change. Baucom, in partnership with colleagues from around the world, is also writing a new book that will explore the idea of the urgent and how universities can help tackle the many challenges and rapid transformations facing societies around the world today.
Baucom earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Wake Forest University and holds a master’s degree in African studies and a doctorate in English, both from Yale University.