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Academic Innovation Fund Honors Clark Ross' Contributions to Davidson

Clark Ross, one of the best-known and most well-respected leaders on Davidson's campus, is stepping down at the end of this academic year-June 30, 2013-after serving 15 years as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty. Additionally, he has been in the classroom since 1979 and is the current Frontis W. Johnston Professor of Economics. Following a one-year sabbatical, Ross will return to Davidson and resume teaching economics courses full-time.

To honor the many talents and gifts he has brought to Davidson, a new project is underway that intends to build collaborations representing areas of meaning to Ross. The Academic Innovation Fund will provide support for faculty/student research or curriculum development that lead to new methods of research and/or teaching, or to the production of new knowledge. Specifically, the Fund will support the following components:

  • Group Investigation Research. Faculty members apply for Group Investigation funding in order to design and lead off-campus trips in courses that are exploring questions that would benefit from a trip to a museum, field site, or other off-campus location during a semester break or the summer. Often, the goal is group study of an artifact, rare volume, work of art, or other tangible property. Alternatively, funds may be used to bring such a property to campus, with the objective of creating group study around it.
  • Student/Faculty Research. Students wishing to conduct research in socioeconomic issues - an area of particular interest for Ross - will apply for funds to support a summer student/faculty collaborative research project within the Davidson Research Initiative. The students, who will be part of a vibrant campus-wide community of undergraduate research during the summer, will present their research results at the Fall Campus Research Symposium and are expected to present the results of their summer work at regional or national meetings during the year following their fellowship. They also are encouraged to publish the results of their work in professional journals.
  • Team-Teaching Opportunities. Since its formalization on the Davidson campus in 2009, team-teaching-in which two professors from different disciplines together teach a specially designed course-has generated great demand from students and faculty alike. The courses feature multiple perspectives and subject matter experience, and provide professors with an opportunity not only to learn from each other, but also to build stronger relationships through their collaboration. Because two professors, in this instance, are teaching one course, funds are needed to support another faculty member-or an adjunct-who can teach an additional course, so that a full slate of courses may be offered during that particular semester.
  • Curricular Development. Innovative course development is imperative for Davidson's curriculum to stay current, responsive and forward-thinking. Faculty apply for these funds, which allow them to spend time-over and above that spent in the classroom or on their research-thinking of new ways to engage Davidson students in the quest for knowledge.

"Clark's unwavering leadership and sound advice over the years have truly brought this institution to new heights," said President Carol Quillen. "He is a friend and mentor to many. And so it seems most appropriate that we honor him through this very special program. The Academic Innovation Fund will add depth to our students' educational journeys and will greatly enhance the work of our faculty, and nothing will represent Clark's overall commitment to Davidson more fittingly than a program to help our outstanding students and faculty become even more exceptional."

The fundraising effort for the Academic Innovation Fund is ongoing-nearly half of the $2 million goal has been raised-and a public celebration of Ross' many contributions to Davidson will be held at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 21 in the Lilly Family Gallery in Chambers Building. The campus and community are invited to attend.

To learn more about the Academic Innovation Fund or to discuss how you might honor Clark Ross through this initiative, contact David McClintock in the office of college relations at or 704-894-2552.

More about Clark Ross

Clark Ross earned a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. from Boston College. His teaching interests include introductory economics, labor economics, comparative economic systems and economic transition, and U. S. economic history. Research interests include the pedagogy of introductory economics, affirmative action, and economic development in Africa. He is co-author with Davidson Professor Peter Hess of Principles of Economics: An Analytical Approach (West Publishing, 1993), and Economic Development: Theories, Evidence, and Policies (Dryden Press, 1997). Ross has been active in Advanced Placement Economics since the inception of the program in 1988. From 1998 to 2005, he served as Chief Faculty Consultant for AP Economics.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C. Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages, giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

For more information contact Danielle Strickland at 704-894-3101 or



In his 15 years as academic dean, Clark Ross's voice has prompted more than 6,000 students to cross the Commencement stage and receive their diplomas.