Davis to lead WCU’s student success programs

Lowell Kent Davis, assistant dean of students and assistant to the vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Alabama, has been appointed assistant vice chancellor for student success at Western Carolina University.

Lowell Davis

Lowell Davis

Effective July 22, the appointment was announced Wednesday, June 12, by Mark Lord, WCU’s interim associate provost.

In his new role, Davis will oversee the Registrar’s Office, One-Stop Student Service Center, Academic Advising, and various student success programs including First Year Experience, Writing and Learning Commons, Math Tutoring Center, Student Support Services and Disability Services. He also will be responsible for repositioning WCU’s summer sessions as an integral strategy for success by encouraging students to reduce time to graduation and improve their grade-point averages by taking summer classes.

“Dr. Davis’ appointment concludes a highly competitive national search process,” said Lord, who chaired the campus committee that conducted the search. “Throughout the process, Dr. Davis garnered strong and broad support from the search committee and the campus community for his collaborative leadership style and his vision for student success at WCU.”

The appointment of Davis is part of a reorganization of the Division of Academic Affairs announced earlier this year by WCU’s late provost, Angi Brenton. After the 2011 retirement of a senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, the position was reconfigured to focus and enhance various student success efforts across the campus. The move also reflects the increasingly important role that student retention and graduation rates are playing in state appropriations through a new performance funding formula for institutions in the University of North Carolina system, Lord said.

Davis said he is “extremely excited” about joining WCU. “Leading the newly created Division of Student Success at Western Carolina University is thrilling,” he said. “I especially look forward to the opportunity to serve with faculty, staff and students across the campus to ensure that our students have an optimal experience. As we work together to increase retention and graduation rates, our students will make tremendous contributions throughout the community, the state and the nation.”

In his current position at the University of Alabama, which he has held since May 2009, Davis leads comprehensive programs designed to ensure student success from the first semester through graduation. He also supervises academic and student programming for special populations, including first-generation students; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students; and students who are in foster care, who are emancipated or who are wards of the state.

At Alabama, Davis has coordinated freshman learning communities and freshman seminars, and supervised the Student Government Association, Office of Student Leadership and Involvement, Office of Veterans’ Affairs and Office of Greek Affairs. He also previously served as the university’s director of new student and parent programs.

He teaches courses in the departments of Race and Gender Studies and Educational Leadership, Policy and Technology Studies, and for the Honors College at Alabama and is chair of the Educational Leadership Program for the online University of Atlanta. Davis also has taught at Indiana University and Hampton University, and he served as a consultant for the Institute for Higher Education Policy’s Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students Project.

Davis earned his doctorate in education, leadership and policy studies from Indiana University in 2007, and his master’s degree in counseling with an emphasis on college student development and bachelor’s degree in English arts and secondary education from Hampton University.