Davis Named University's Vice Provost

Adrienne D. Davis, the William M. Van Cleve Professor of Law, has been appointed Washington University’s Vice Provost, effective February 1, 2011.

Washington University Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Edward S. Macias made the announcement, which comes through the recommendation of an advisory committee chaired by James E. McLeod, Vice Chancellor for Students and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

"This new position will focus initially on diversity and faculty development, as well as other areas of campus-wide importance," Macias says. "Adrienne Davis is very well suited for this position as it is a natural outgrowth of her current work on law, gender, and race in an interdisciplinary manner."

"I am delighted to be asked to serve on the Provost's team at Washington University, which I consider to be one of the exceptional institutions of higher learning," says Davis. "I look forward to working with the Provost, the Deans, and my colleagues in the different schools on a variety of projects. Our niche as a premier research university, also offering the many benefits of a liberal arts college, presents unique opportunities to enhance our faculty at all levels. We already compete and contribute at the highest levels in our professional schools, the sciences, and the humanities, and we are poised to compete at a similarly high level in pursuing a diverse faculty that represents the absolute best of academia. I am also looking forward to remaining involved and active in my teaching and other projects and initiatives at the law school."

Davis joined the law faculty in 2008. Her scholarship and teaching are focused on gender and race relations; theories of justice and reparations; feminist legal theory; and law and popular culture. She directs the Black Sexual Economies Project at the law school's Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Work and Social Capital, a working group of eight scholars from seven U.S. research universities who are in the fields of Law, English, African Diaspora Studies, Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies, Film & Media Studies, History, and American Studies.

Designed as a four-year working group, the Project's goal is to craft new paradigms for thinking about race, gender, and sexuality through open dialogue. The resulting papers will culminate in a published volume and public conference in 2012–13. In 2009 Davis also founded the Law & Culture Initiative at the law school to facilitate scholarly engagement and exchange on the intersection of legal, cultural, and other interdisciplinary studies. She holds courtesy appointments in African & African-American Studies, History, and Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies in Arts & Sciences.

Davis earned a bachelor's degree in both Afro-American Studies and Economics & Political Science, and subsequently a J.D. from Yale where she was an Executive Committee Editor of The Yale Law Journal.  Her first academic position was at the University of San Francisco School of Law; while there she clerked for Judge A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Davis then moved to Washington, D.C. to join the faculty at American University, Washington College of Law. She became the Co-Director of the Gender, Work & Family Project, a research and advocacy center aimed at discerning and ameliorating the economic vulnerability that parenting and working can entail.

From Washington, D.C., Davis moved to the University of North Carolina where she became the Reef C. Ivey II Research Professor of Law. She was awarded the Frederick B. McCall Award for Teaching Excellence and served as Chair, first of the Visiting Speaker Series, and later of the Promotion & Tenure Committee.

Davis is the past recipient of a Bellagio Fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation and two research grants from the Ford Foundation on the topics of black women and labor, and women, slavery, sexuality, and religion.  In addition to her research and teaching, she is currently an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, past chair of the Law and Humanities Section of the Association of American Law Schools, and served on the editorial boards of several prestigious journals.