SPRINGFIELD, MA (05/25/2022) Dr. Marcus Davis, currently the Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, and Interim Department Head for Mathematics and Statistics at James Madison University (JMU), has been appointed Dean of Western New England University’s College of Arts & Sciences and Professor of Biology.
Western New England University Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Maria Toyoda announced the appointment citing Davis’ leadership roles in academics and diversity, his capacity for innovation, and his demonstrated student and faculty centricity.
“Dr. Davis will help the College of Arts & Sciences continue to build and shape its foundational role at our University,” said Dr. Toyoda. “He has the leadership skills to implement our University’s innovative and strategic direction as a New Traditional University. His passion for student-centered programs, faculty mentoring, and community inclusion are fundamental for growth in the College of Arts & Sciences.”
Davis will oversee nine departments with over 100 full-time faculty and over 1,200 enrolled students as the Dean of College of Arts & Sciences. The appointment is effective August 8.
“The Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences must be committed to WNE’s mission of becoming a laboratory for academic innovation, and advancing inclusive excellence in the community to ensure that students are both engaged global citizens and career-ready,” said Davis when accepting the appointment.
As Associate Dean at JMU, Dr. Davis supports faculty research, student recruitment, and DEI initiatives across the five departments of the College and on behalf of 196 full-time faculty and 1500 majors. Within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Dr. Davis supports 70+ faculty as they provide diverse programming to meet the general education and STEM major requirements of thousands of students each year.
Prior to JMU, Dr. Davis previously served as Associate Dean for Research for the College of Science and Mathematics at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. He received his Ph.D. in Organismal Biology and Anatomy from the University of Chicago and a B.S. in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has enjoyed a successful research career in the field of evolutionary developmental biology, and his lab has been continuously supported by grants from the National Science Foundation for over a decade.
Dr. Davis has nearly two decades of paleontological fieldwork experience in the Devonian of High Arctic Canada, the Triassic of Greenland, and Morocco including outreach to Inuk (Inuit) community members and students.
“The Search Committee was impressed with Dr. Davis’ capacities for programmatic change and growth, organizational management, community access and inclusive excellence, faculty research, and undergraduate experiences,” said Dr. Mary Schoonmaker who served as Chair of the Search Committee.
His professional affiliations include The American Association of Colleges and Universities, The American Conference of Academic Deans, The Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences, The Council for Undergraduate Research, The Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, The Society for Developmental Biology, and The Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
“Higher education currently faces a challenging landscape, but one full of opportunity for institutions like WNE that are meeting the needs of today’s learners through innovative new approaches” says Dr. Davis. “I’m excited to join the College of Arts and Sciences at this important time of advancement and growth. I look forward to collaborating with faculty and staff on a shared vision for our learning communities, in which students are valued stakeholders in their own learning and discovery process.”
Davis will succeed Interim Dean Josie Brown who has served in the role since August 2020.
Western New England University (WNE) is a private, nationally ranked, comprehensive institution with a focus on preparing work-ready and world-ready graduates. Founded in 1919 in Springfield, Massachusetts as a division of Northeastern College, WNE’s 215-acre suburban campus serves more than 3,700 students, including over 2,500 full-time undergraduates. More than 47,000 alumni have earned degrees through its 90+ undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs at Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Engineering, and Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and School of Law. Students come from 39 U.S. states and territories and 23 countries. Of 45,104 living alumni, 30% remain within the region, residing in the four Western Massachusetts counties and northern Connecticut.
WNE is classified among nationally ranked universities in US News and World Report, and among the Top 100 Undergraduate Engineering programs, and in the Doctoral/Professional Universities category in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.