Timothy D. Baird, PhD
I'm interested in the interactions between environmental conservation, economic development, and social change - in a word, sustainability. My research in rural Africa has examined how vulnerable communities are adapting to protected areas, engaging a globalizing world, and embracing new technologies. It is a great privilege to work with such welcoming and resilient families and communities.
I'm also interested in how social networks change, how the creative process evolves, and how people respond to disruption. This work relates to scholarship in human/environment interactions, livelihood studies, human ecology, and resilience studies.
Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Virginia Tech
Senior Fellow, Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology, Virginia Tech
Director, Pathways to Sustainability Minor, Virginia Tech
September 2020, humbled to serve as the inaugural faculty principal for the new Creativity and Innovation District Living Learning Community at VT.
August 2020, a great story on our work with women in Tanzania in the VT News
August 2020, our team published a paper on mobile phones in Tanzania in PLOS ONE
May 2020, Kelly Summers published her thesis work in the Journal of Rural Studies
December 2019, I gave a public lecture at the GSSC in Cologne on Dec. 11.
October 2019, David Fox published his thesis work in Applied Geography.
May 2019, Check out our new video below highlighting Kelly Summer's work with our team in northern Tanzania:
Peer-reviewed publications (*students)
Quandt, A., J.D. Salerno, J.C. Neff, T.D. Baird, J.E. Herrick, J.T. McCabe, E. Xu, J. Hartter (2020) Mobile phone use is associated with higher smallholder agricultural productivity in Tanzania, East Africa. PLOS ONE 15 (8) e0237337 (open access link)
*Summers, K.H, T.D. Baird, E. Woodhouse, M.E. Christie, J.T. McCabe, F. Terta, N. Peter (2020) Mobile phones and women's empowerment in Maasai communities: How men shape women's social relations and access to phones. Journal of Rural Studies 77: 126-137. (open access link) (VT News)
Baird, T.D., D.J. Kniola, J. Hartter, K.A. Carlson, S. Rogers, D. Russell and J.C. Tise (2020) Adapting Pink Time to Promote Self-Regulated Learning Across Course and Student Types. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education 32 (1) 49-63. (open access link)
*Fox, D.N., T.D. Baird, T.D., M.J. Stern, and S.P. Prisley (2019) Where mobile groups settle: spatial patterns and correlates of Maasai pastoralist sedentarization in northern Tanzania. Applied Geography 112: 102086. (link)
*Jensen, D., T.D. Baird, and G. Blank (2018) New Landscapes of Conflict: Land Use Competition at the Urban-Rural Fringe. Landscape Research 44 (4): 418-429. (link)
Santo, A., K. Guillozet, M.G. Sorice, T.D. Baird, S.A. Gray, C.J. Donlan and C.B. Anderson (2017) Examining private landowners' knowledge systems of invasive species. Human Ecology 45 (4): 449-462. (link)
Baird, T.D. and J. Hartter (2017) Livelihood diversification, mobile phones and information diversity in northern Tanzania. Land Use Policy 67: 460-471. (link) (theconversation.com) (vtnews.vt.edu)
Baird, T.D., B.C. Chaffin and D.J. Wrathall (2017) A Disturbance Innovation Hypothesis: Perspectives from Human and Physical Geography. The Geographical Journal 183 (2): 201-208. (link) (PDF)
*Lewis, A.L., T.D. Baird and M.G. Sorice (2016) Mobile phone use and human-wildlife conflict in northern Tanzania. Environmental Management 58 (1): 117-129. (link) (motherboard.com) (rewrite.com) (durablehuman.com)
Stern, M.J. and T.D. Baird (2015) Trust ecology and the resilience of natural resources institutions. Ecology and Society 29 (2): 14. (open access link) (wholeterrain.com)
Baird, T.D. (2015) Conservation implications of the diffusion of Christian religious ideals in rural Africa. Population and Environment 36 (4): 373-399. (link)
Baird, T.D., D.J. Kniola, A.L. Lewis* and S.B. Fowler (2015) Pink Time: Evidence of self regulated learning and academic motivation among undergraduate students. Journal of Geography 114 (4): 146-157. (link) (theubiquitouslibrarian.com)
MacKenzie, C.A., T.D. Baird, J. Hartter (2014) Use of Single Large or Several Small Policies as Strategies to Manage People-Park Interactions. Conservation Biology 28 (6): 1645-1656. (link)
Baird, T.D. and C.L. Gray (2014) Livelihood Diversification and Shifting Social Networks of Exchange: A Social Network Transition? World Development 60: 14-30. (link) (research.vt.edu) (theconversation.com)
Baird, T.D. (2014) Conservation and Unscripted Development: Proximity to park associated with development and financial diversity. Ecology and Society 19 (1): 4. (open access link)
Baird, T.D. and P.W. Leslie (2013) Conservation as Disturbance: Upheaval and Livelihood Diversification near Tarangire National Park. Global Environmental Change 23 (5): 1131-1141. (link) (research.vt.edu)
Baird, T.D. (2013) Parks and Place Fragments: The Implications of Biodiversity Protection in Tanzania and Indiana. African Geographical Review 32 (1): 100-104. (link)
Baird, T.D., P.W. Leslie, and J.T. McCabe (2009) Effect of Conservation on Local Perceptions of Risk and Behavioral Response. Human Ecology 37 (4): 463-474. (link)
Miller, T.R., T.D. Baird, C. Littlefield, G.P. Kofinas, F.S. Chapin III, C.L. Redman (2008) Epistemological pluralism: Reorganizing interdisciplinary research. Ecology and Society 13 (2). (open access link)
Baird, T.D. (2015) Comment on Who Helps and Why? Cooperative Networks in Mpimbwe by C. Kasper and M. Borgerhoff Mulder. Current Anthropology. 56 (5): 701-732. (link)
Baird, T.D. (2015) Motivate the Future. Pedagogy in Practice. Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research, Virginia Tech, 2-4. (link)
Papers in review
Lee, E. and T.D. Baird. Comparing engagement with student-centered learning in South Korea and the United States.
Baird, T.D., J.T. McCabe, E. Woodhouse, I. Rumas, S. Sankeni, G.O. Satoti. Mobile phones and wrong numbers: how accidental social ties affect land use in East Africa.
Steelcase, Inc., 2018-2020, Active Learning Center Grant: Integrating Social Science and Sensing Technologies to Examine Active Learning Environments. T. Baird (PI), D. Kniola, P. Tarazaga, B. Knapp, V. Thomas, R. Wynne, L. Fuller (approx. $67,000).
National Science Foundation, 2017-2020, Geography and Spatial Sciences Program (GSS) & Cultural Anthropology Program. SBE-RCUK: The effects of mobile phones on gendered social networks, decision making and vulnerability. T. Baird (PI), E. Woodhouse, J.T. McCabe, BCS-1660428. $330,034 (+ £40,051 from RCUK)
National Geographic Society, 2013-2014, Committee for Research and Exploration: Texting the Last Great Herds: Maasai Social Networks and Land Use in the Age of the Cell Phone. T. Baird (PI) and J. Hartter, CRE #9293-13. $17,720
Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, 2009-2010, U.S. Department of Education. Wildlife Conservation and the Role of Inter-household Exchange in Social-Ecological Resilience. $38,106.
National Science Foundation, 2009-2010, Doctoral Dissertation Research: Wildlife Conservation and the Role of Inter-household Exchange in Social-Ecological Resilience. P. Leslie (PI) and T. Baird, BCS-0927173. $12,000.
2019 Design Award (Gold, Silver), European Product Design Awards (Kizingo design team)
2019 Design Award (Silver), 12th Annual IDA awards (Kizingo design team)
2013 Nystrom Dissertation Award (Finalist), AAG
2012 Student Paper Award, Cultural & Political Ecology Specialty Group, AAG
2012 Student Paper Award, Africa Specialty Group, AAG
2009 Dissertation Research Grant, AAG
Internal Research Grants
Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology & Institute for Society, Culture and Environment, Virginia Tech, 2016-2017, Human-centered smart environments SEAD grant, Boosting University Infrastructure for Learning + Discovery (BUILD). T. Baird (PI), D. Kniola, P. Tarazaga. $30,000 [exhibition] [video]
Office for Vice Chancellor of Research, University of Colorado, 2016-2017, Innovation Seed Grant Program, Improving access to agricultural knowledge through mobile phones: Exploring the potential for technology adoption in Africa. J. Hartter (PI), J. Neff, J. Herrick, J.T. McCabe, T. Baird, A. Quandt, J. Salerno. $50,000
Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology, Virginia Tech, 2015-2016, SEAD Mini Grant, Identifying collaboration & creativity in instrumented buildings to support innovation. T. Baird (PI), D. Kniola, P. Tarazaga. $3,000
Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, 2005-2010, National Science Foundation IGERT Traineeship, approx. $125,000
Internal Teaching Grants
Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Virginia Tech, 2016-2018, Pathways Development and Delivery Grant. Delivery of Sustainability Pathways Minor. T. Baird (PI) and L.W. Carstensen. $70,000
Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs, Virginia Tech, 2015-2017, Pathways Scholar. Development of ‘Africa Together’ course and Pathways Sustainability Minor. Approx. $19,000
Office for Diversity and Inclusion, Virginia Tech, 2014, Inclusion Pedagogy Grant. Expansion of the Pink Time Assignment. $1,500
UNC Office for Undergraduate Research, University of North Carolina, 2010, Graduate Student Mentoring Award. $1,000
2018. XCaliber Award for exceptional, high-caliber contributions to technology-enriched teaching and learning, Office of the Provost, Virginia Tech
2017. Favorite Faculty Award, Division of Student Affairs, Virginia Tech
Some of my thoughts on education and motivation can be found here (2015).
What I teach
Seeking Sustainability I: GEOG 1115 / Every fall / syllabus / general education media
Seeking Sustainability II: GEOG 1116 / Every spring / syllabus
Africa Together: GEOG 4984 / Spring 2021 / syllabus
Human-Environment Interactions: GEOG 5984 (Grad class) / Spring 2022 / syllabus
Pink Time is a radical assignment to
promote course engagement and
learning. Check out our website
... or my talk on Pink Time.
the BUILD Project (Boosting University Infrastructure for Learning + Discovery)
With support from Steelcase, Inc. and several groups at Virginia Tech (ICAT, ISCE, CNRE, CLAHS, SOE), our team has been experimenting to strategies from engineering and the social sciences to examine patterns of movement in formal and informal learning environments (e.g., classrooms, labs, study lounges, etc.) and how these patterns are related to student engagement and collaboration. This video shows preliminary analysis of "students and faculty" in an active learning computer lab. (Video created by David Franusich, ICAT)
Pathways to Sustainability Minor
If you are a faculty member affiliated with this minor, check out our website. If you're a student check out our video above. In the podcast below, I discuss some of my strategies for teaching GenEd courses and design of our new interdisciplinary Pathways Minor in Sustainability.
Seeking Sustainability - a course design story by the Active Learning Curation Program
In 2017, Alice Rogers, who is the manager of the ALCP at VT, created this wonderful video exhibit of my Seeking Sustainability class. The goal of the project was to examine how active learning is working in VT's new classroom building. I'm so grateful for the work that she did to look carefully at our class and tell a thoughtful and engaging story. Check out her work:
I am actively looking for qualified and enthusiastic new students to start in the fall of 2021. Currently my projects involve: (1) gendered social networks and mobile phones in northern Tanzania (yes - the pics on the site); and (2) digital strategies to examine education spaces in North America (see the BUILD project above). If you are interested in working with me, or simply discussing the prospect of graduate school at Virginia Tech, please contact me by email with your interests and CV and we can set up a time to talk.
Mark Villarreal, human-building interactions & intelligent infrastructure in campus settings.
Kelly Summers (MS), mobile phones and women's empowerment in East Africa. Current position with the Environmental Protection Agency.
David Fox (MS), spatial patterns of pastoralist settlement in East Africa. Current position with the Vermont Center for Geographic Information.
Ashley Lewis (MS), mobile phones and human-wildlife conflict in East Africa. Current positions with the Blacksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad and the National Awareness Tracking School.
I ate locally for a year in 2008 and blogged about it for The Splendid Table on American Public Media. Check out my interview below (beginning around 21:20). Or visit here.