Active professor emphasizes community involvement, interdisciplinary education

Passionate Yale alumnus and active community member Doug Baldwin has been on theGeneseo faculty since 1990. During his tenure serving as a professor of mathematics, Baldwin has had a significant impact on the college. 

Baldwin is heavily involved in the Geneseo chapter of Phi Beta Kappa—the oldest national honor society in the United States—and has been since its inception. In fact, he is one of two faculty members responsible for the existence of this chapter, along with professor of English and American studies Thomas Greenfield. 

“[Bringing the chapter to Geneseo] has been a big deal for the college, which is one of about 280 colleges nationwide to have a Phi Betta Kappa chapter,” Baldwin said. “It does a lot of public advocacy for the liberal arts and it is very much a liberal arts recognition and support of the philosophy.” 

Regarding Phi Beta Kappa, Baldwin emphasized the society’s selectivity and prestige. He believes that Geneseo is more than deserving of this chapter. 

Baldwin originally came to Geneseo in 1990 to start the computer science program. When the program was cut in 2012, however, he joined the mathematics department. He quickly adapted to this change and—instead of letting the cut affect him negatively—maintained a positive attitude that included finding ways to intertwine his love for computer science with mathematics. 

“A lot of the courses that I teach are basically computer science courses re-targeted to math students, with a stronger math component than they would have in a typical computer science department, which I think makes them work better,” Baldwin said. 

Although Baldwin disagrees with the college’s decision to eliminate the computer science department, he understands its reasoning behind this action. 

“I think this is probably not the time in terms of where society is going and how technology is evolving for a college to get rid of a computer science department,” he said. “On the other hand, I think it was done in response to very real financial stresses and I think the college was at a point where it had to make a decision between either cutting a couple of programs or trying to starve everyone’s budget until things got better.”

Baldwin, nonetheless, continues to pursue his love for computer science in other ways outside of the classroom. He belongs to various computer science professional societies, including the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. 

He is also an active member of the Computer Science Education Committee and co-chairs a committee that focuses on issues facing computer science departments in liberal arts colleges.    

On campus, Baldwin is the advisor for the programming and data science club—a new student organization. He teaches three classes a semester and is also on the research council subcommittee that handles grants for students’ research and travel. 

Beyond teaching, Baldwin enjoys working on his 120-year-old farmhouse, a project he has dedicated himself to for the past 30 years. He lives with a few cats and his wife. Baldwin describes himself as someone quietly committed to social equality and justice, as well as environmental causes. 

During his time at Geneseo, Baldwin has not kept himself locked up in the proverbial ivory tower. Instead, he has pursued active involvement with students—undoubtedly inspiring generations of Geneseo graduates.

 Since joining the Geneseo faculty 27 years ago, professor of mathematics Doug Baldwin has sought involvement in several aspects of the campus community. Besides teaching in multiple departments, Baldwin has also worked with the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and a variety of other student groups. (Annalee Bainnson/Photo Editor)

Since joining the Geneseo faculty 27 years ago, professor of mathematics Doug Baldwin has sought involvement in several aspects of the campus community. Besides teaching in multiple departments, Baldwin has also worked with the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and a variety of other student groups. (Annalee Bainnson/Photo Editor)