President Michael Davis formerly served as Chief of Staff at James Madison University (JMU). In that role, Dr. Davis managed JMU’s presidential priorities and directed matters of policy and institutional importance, including strategic planning, institutional research, and accreditation. His executive leadership grew from his commitment to students. Prior to that role, Dr. Davis served as a faculty member and Director of Debate in JMU’s School of Communication Studies. With debate coaching experience spanning more than 25 years, Dr. Davis leveraged alumni and external grant support to elevate JMU’s Madison Debate society to one of national renown. Dr. Davis previously taught communication studies and coached debate at Georgia State University, University of Georgia, University of Rochester, University of Louisville, Mercer University, and Syracuse University.
As a first-generation undergraduate student, Dr. Davis learned early the importance of academic mentors and campus support. He strives to address the holistic needs of today’s diverse students while reducing barriers. His approach to leadership is rooted in his experience in civil discourse, deliberation, and debate; experience that instilled in him the value of welcoming diverse opinions.
Dr. Davis has expertise in leading curricular innovation and crafting international student and faculty opportunities. In his international programming efforts and travels abroad while at JMU, Dr. Davis conducted programming with universities and government agencies in Rwanda and Kosovo. He secured formal partnerships offering high impact opportunities that facilitate compelling enrollment and programmatic co-curricular prospects for students and faculty alike.
Dr. Davis is a proud community member. While at JMU, he cultivated productive relationships with city and county officials, administrators at neighboring institutions, business leaders, elected officials, and statewide commissions and task forces. His community relations experience expands campus boundaries for the symbiotic benefit of both campus and community. In his spare time, his community involvement includes volunteer leadership with the United Way of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County, Any Given Child Shenandoah Valley, On The Road Collaborative, Harrisonburg Education Foundation, Harrisonburg Little League Association, and Girl Scout Troop 82.
Dr. Davis is and will always be a communication studies scholar. As such, he relishes the opportunity to translate his academic experience in public discourse to unequivocally support student success. Mike Davis earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Communication Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Georgia. He also holds a Master of Arts and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication and Rhetorical Studies from Syracuse University. His academic research interests center women in the Civil Rights Movement, debate pedagogy, presidential rhetoric, and argumentation and advocacy.