Ian B. Baucom

Ian Baucom was appointed the Buckner W. Clay Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia in 2014.

He is overseeing an ambitious hiring campaign that, in the midst of a generational turnover of esteemed faculty, aims to bring 250 new tenured and tenure-track faculty to Arts & Sciences. Baucom is emphasizing the importance of recruiting at the highest level of excellence and enhancing the faculty’s diversity. Over the past four years, he has worked with UVA colleagues to attract more than 150 renowned faculty members and has encouraged a culture of innovation at the College.

Under his leadership, Arts & Sciences launched its New College Curriculum pilot in 2017 to better prepare undergraduate students for 21st-century lives through a variety of means, especially as a result of a redesigned first-year student experience. The new curriculum also includes an increased emphasis on writing, quantitative thought, and ethics.

At the same time, Baucom is working to advance the research mission and to further strengthen graduate programs, coordinating 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.

In addition, 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.

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.

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.

Melody C. Barnes

A presidential advisor and director of the White House Domestic Policy Council during President Barack Obama’s administration, Melody C. Barnes serves as co-director for policy and public affairs for the Democracy Initiative.

Barnes brings more than 25 years of experience working at the highest levels of government crafting public policy on a wide range of domestic issues. In addition to her leadership role with UVA’s Democracy Initiative, Barnes also holds appointments as a professor of practice at the Miller Center of Public Affairs and as a distinguished fellow at the School of Law. 

Barnes was also executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress and chief counsel to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Her experience includes an appointment as director of legislative affairs for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and assistant counsel to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights. Barnes began her career as an attorney with Shearman & Sterling. 

Barnes serves on several corporate, philanthropic, and nonprofit boards, including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, where she is vice-chair. 

She earned her B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she graduated with honors in history, and her law degree from the University of Michigan.

Andrew Kahrl

Andrew Kahrl is associate professor of history and African American Studies at the University of Virginia. A specialist in the history of racism, inequality, and politics in twentieth-century America, Kahrl’s research examines the social, economic, and environmental impact of real estate development in coastal areas and the mechanisms of racial segregation in housing markets and public spaces in American cities.

Kahrl’s first book, The Land Was Ours: How Black Beaches became White Wealth in the Coastal South (UNC Press)received the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians. His second book, Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline, was published by Yale University Press in 2018He has published articles in the Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, Journal of Southern History, Southern Cultures, Critical Sociology, Journal of Social History, Chicago-Kent Law Review, Journal of American Ethnic History, Journal of Planning History, and several edited collections.  He has also written essays and op-eds for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, Hartford Courant, and Public Seminar. 

Kahrl is the past recipient of fellowships and awards from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.  Since 2016, he has served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

Kahrl is currently completing a book on the taxation of Black Americans from the end of Reconstruction to the present, which calls attention to the historic and ongoing manipulation of property tax laws and policies to advantage white taxpayers, undermine Black property ownership and wealth building, and reinforce racial segregation in housing markets.  He is also serving as the Principal Investigator on a multi-year study of the history of African American outdoor recreation for the National Park Service.

At UVA, Kahrl teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on modern African American history, race and real estate, local politics and grassroots activism, and U.S. urban history, and serves as the Director of the Undergraduate Program in the Department of African American and African Studies.

Kahrl received his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University in 2008 and his B.A. from Kenyon College in 2001.