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Spelman College

President's Letter to the Community


Dear Spelman Community,

Sharon DaviesIt is my pleasure to welcome Sharon Davies to Spelman as provost and vice president of academic affairs. Her tenure begins June 1, 2017.

Ms. Davies joins Spelman at an exciting time in the College’s history as we are formulating a strategic plan that will profoundly impact Spelman's academic future and assesses the 21st century skills and knowledge our students require to be leaders in the global community.

As the chief academic officer, Ms. Davies will serve as a key member of the president's senior leadership team and play a pivotal role in assuring the execution of our new strategic plan, the implementation of the plan's initiatives and the College's continuing ascent into the top ranks of liberal arts colleges. Working closely with the deans, department chairs, and program directors, she will provide oversight for maintaining academic excellence and assuring strong support for student success in the Office of Academic Affairs.

A highly respected scholar, Ms. Davies joins Spelman from The Ohio State University where she is vice provost for Diversity & Inclusion and the chief diversity officer. For the past 22 years, she has been a member of OSU's Moritz College of Law faculty, currently serving as the Gregory H. Williams Chair in Civil Rights & Civil Liberties. Ms. Davies directs the university's Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity, an interdisciplinary engaged research institute known nationally for its work in social justice, equity and inclusion.

Ms. Davies was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and a Notes and Comments Editor of the Columbia Law Review while in law school at Columbia University. As Spelman considers the preparation students require not only for graduate and professional school but for a range of careers after college, we are pleased that Ms. Davies brings with her a set of career experiences that span both the academic and non-academic worlds. After graduation, she worked as an attorney for Steptoe and Johnson in Washington, D.C., Lord, Day & Lord Barrett Smith in New York City, and served for five years as an assistant United States attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.

She currently holds a four-year appointment to the Ohio Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She has received numerous accolades for her contributions to fostering legal education, ensuring access to justice, and preserving individual rights and the rule of law, and is recognized as a national authority and frequent speaker on diversity in higher education, the implications of implicit bias research and structural barriers to educational opportunity.

Ms. Davies' distinguished record of scholarship and leadership in higher education and beyond will further advance the College. As we seek to heighten the intellectual experience, global impact of Spelman women, and career horizons for our students, her experiences will allow her to effectively lead the College's academic functions with insight, creativity, and innovation in the dynamic and rapidly changing higher education environment.

I take this opportunity to extend a word of thanks. For the past two and a half years, Spelman has been served exceedingly well by Myra Burnett, Ph.D., who assumed the role of interim provost in the fall of 2014 and will serve in that role until May 31, 2017.  Dr. Burnett brought to her interim role a deep knowledge of the College, an attentiveness to the integrity of academic processes and procedures, and an innovative spirit. Her leadership, keen intelligence and administrative skills are invaluable assets to Spelman. On behalf of the Spelman community, I thank Dr. Burnett for her support of the Office of the President and her service to Spelman.

On behalf of the Spelman community, I also take this opportunity to thank the members of the provost search committee for an outstanding search both in terms of process and the final outcome. The two co-chairs, Kathleen Phillips-Lewis, Ph.D., and Karen Brakke, Ph.D., provided stellar leadership for the committee. Committee members were Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Ph.D., Margery Ganz, Ph.D., Cynthia Neal Spence, Ph.D., Pushpa Parekh, Ph.D., Romie Tribble, Ph.D., Kasahun Woldemariam, Ph.D., Robert Flanigan, Terri Reed, Ph.D., and Taylor A. Hall-Debnam.

A special word of thanks to Ms. Helga Greenfield, who, in her capacity as chief of staff to the president, staffed the provost search committee.

Please join me in welcoming Ms. Davies to Spelman and thanking Dr. Burnett, the provost search committee and Ms. Greenfield for their contributions.


Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.