Independent Mediation

September 2, 2008

Dr. Robert M. Baird, BA '59, MA '61, professor of philosophy and Master Teacher, was appointed to the position of faculty university ombudsperson in June.

The position serves to facilitate resolution of problems, questions or disputes for faculty in an informal, impartial and confidential manner. The ombudsperson is not an advocate for the administration or faculty, but is an advocate of fair process and impartial mediation. He or she operates independently of the University's formal grievance procedures and is independent of the University's normal academic administration.

"Integrity, fairness, compassion and wisdom are four imperatives for any mediator, along with legal and policy expertise, which obviously describes Bob Baird," then-provost Dr. Randall O'Brien said. "We are exceedingly pleased that Bob has agreed to serve as university ombudsperson. Faculty and administration alike trust Bob in this important position."

Among Baird's responsibilities are promoting consistent application of policies and practices with the values of fairness, equity, justice and mutual respect; mediating disputes to resolve problems and informing the administration of patterns of endemic problems or complaints in periodic meetings and recommend changes.

A cum laude graduate of Baylor in 1959, Baird also earned his master's degree from Baylor in 1961, a bachelor of divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1964, and his doctorate from Emory University in 1967. He joined the Baylor faculty in 1968 as an assistant professor of philosophy and served as chair of the department from 1987-2005. Prior to his tenure at Baylor, Baird taught at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Neb., and Oglethorpe College in Atlanta.

Baird is among a select number of Baylor professors designated as Master Teachers, the highest honor granted to Baylor faculty members. He also has been honored with several other awards, including the Outstanding Faculty Service Award by the Baylor Faculty Senate in 1991, the Piper Professor of Texas by the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation in 1994, the Robert L. Reid Award for Outstanding Teaching in the Humanities in 2002, the Herbert H. Reynolds Award for Exemplary Service to Students in 2003, and the Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year Award in 2005.

A highly respected teacher of ethics and social philosophy, Baird has edited 17 books on contemporary issues in philosophy, with several in their second and third editions. He also has written numerous book chapters, journal articles, reviews, booknotes, abstracts and encyclopedia articles.