When it came time to find a new dean for the school of science and mathematics, Dr. Sam Jones, vice president for academics, didn't have to look far to find an excellent replacement for the retiring Dr. Allen Walker. Dr. LeAnn Self-Davis, who served as the director of undergraduate research and as the environmental compliance officer in addition to her role as advisor and faculty member, was selected to become the new dean.
Dr. Self-Davis is a favorite among the students. While maintaining a reputation of being one of the most challenging professors on campus, her students talk about her ability to push them to become the best student they can become. She says it’s about being fair, and pushing the students while instilling confidence and character. "Dr. Self-Davis teaches us to believe in ourselves but more importantly to believe in excellence," said Hannah Risley, a recent graduate and pre-pharmacy student.
"Our students are fantastic," said Dr. Self Davis. "They come to us with a great sense for learning but have a built-in sense for ethics that most do not find in students their age. That rich ethical background is what makes our science and math majors the most sought after in our region."
Dr. Self-Davis received her education through highly touted programs. Her undergraduate and masters degree in soil science came from Auburn University where she excelled as a student receiving the outstanding senior in soil science as an undergraduate and outstanding masters student in soil science as a graduate student. At the University of Arkansas where she received her Ph.D. in soil chemistry and geology, Dr. Self-Davis continued her record of excellence as the senior graduate research assistant for the USDA-ARS Poultry Waste and Product Safety Laboratory.
In 1998, Dr. Self Davis joined the department of chemistry and engineering sciences where she immediately developed three new courses, served as the departmental student advisor and served on a number of committees. In 2005, she became the director of undergraduate research at Freed-Hardeman University where she began to develop the unique program that provides graduate level research for undergraduate students.
"At Freed-Hardeman University, the school of science and mathematics is about educating our students to be the top in their field,” said Dr. Self Davis. “I believe our faculty provides the foundation for an excellent education and our undergraduate research center provides opportunities for our top students, to become the best they can be. Because of those opportunities, and because of our faculty and our great alumni, the future is very bright for the school of science and mathematics. I look forward to the responsibility of leading our team of outstanding faculty and our students to that goal.”