Grand Valley Provost receives top award

Grand Valley Provost receives top award
Grand Valley Provost receives top award

The provost at Grand Valley State University was named recipient of the top annual award from a statewide association for higher education.

Gayle R. Davis, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, will receive the Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award from the Michigan ACE (American Council on Education) Network at its June conference in Lansing.

The award, first presented in 2001, recognizes the significant contributions women have made at Michigan's colleges and universities and in their communities. Past honorees have distinguished themselves as advocates for women and catalysts for change.

Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas nominated Davis for the award. In his nomination letter, Haas said that Davis has been deliberate about promoting, recruiting and hiring highly qualified women to positions of authority and influence. Davis has hired 11 of the 13 deans who report to her since arriving at Grand Valley in 2002 and greatly increased the diversity of the group.

Davis said she is deeply honored by the award, particularly as it comes from an association dedicated to helping women advance in their higher education careers. “This recognition for success in one of my most central goals is important to me, ” Davis said. “Since I've devoted a major part of my career to this work, it's a tremendous affirmation.”

Haas said that Davis “has accomplished several tasks that people at Grand Valley said couldn't be done, and she has done this with firmness, charm, grace, fairness and good humor.” During the past seven years, Davis has reorganized the university's academic divisions into unified colleges; introduced individualized faculty workload plans; overseen a revamped student advising program that has increased retention; expanded interdisciplinary courses and created an interdisciplinary college; and saw the university through an exemplary North Central Association re-accreditation visit.

Within greater Grand Rapids, Davis has served as a board member of Huntington Bank's Women's Initiative and the Grand Rapids Art and Museum Commission, and is currently a member of Goodwill Industries board. She also served for several years as chair of the Academic Officers for the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan. In 2008, Davis received a Tribute! Award from the Grand Rapids YWCA and was chosen as a member of the Inner Circle of Inforum, a networking group for professional women. She was recognized in 2006 by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as one of its “50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan.”

Davis earned a master's degree in art history and then a doctorate in American Studies from Michigan State University. She taught in and chaired the Women's Studies Department at Wichita State University in Kansas, later serving as WSU's vice president for Academic Affairs and Research before coming to Grand Valley.

Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 (Archive on Tuesday, May 26, 2009)
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