Introducing Dean Don Pope-Davis
Shaped by the culture in which he grew up, the college’s new dean wants to meet the changing needs of students
The Office of the Academic Affairs on May 17 announced new leadership for the College of Education and Human Ecology. Don Pope-Davis starts as dean July 15.
The former dean of the College of Education at New Mexico State University, Pope-Davis’ leadership has spanned vice president of research, working in a provost’s office and graduate school dean. Each position poised him for his new post at Ohio State. But what also qualifies him is his ranking within his family. “I come from a family of 12 children,” he said. “I have eight sisters and three brothers.”
Because he was fourth-born and his brothers came last, Pope-Davis is well aware of gender perspectives. “Let me tell you, I learned a lot about gender issues growing up, because my sisters made sure I did.”
His scholarship focuses on psychology and multicultural education. He has bachelor’s degrees in psychology and religious studies, a master’s in counseling psychology and, from Stanford University, a doctorate in counseling psychology.
He understands that growing up poor too often casts the die against students’ chances for higher education.
“A significant number of students at Ohio State University are first-generation, low-income,” he said. “I know what that experience is like .… I believe education is perhaps the most dependent variable that can transform lives.”
He calls himself “student-centric” and doesn’t spend too much time in his office. Instead, Pope-Davis plans to canvas the state, meeting with prospective students, community leaders and educators in the field. “I want to develop those relationships with the local community.”