An Eastern New Mexico University marketing professor known for his laid-back approach is the school’s fourth honoree as New Mexico Professor of the Year in the last nine years.
Dale Davis, a professor at ENMU since 1982, attended an awards luncheon Thursday in Washington, D.C., in honor of state winners, as well as an evening reception on Capitol Hill.
“I’m overwhelmed. Winning never entered my mind,” Davis said. “Every school has many fine professors, and I feel very honored to be in such good company.
“It’s always gratifying to be recognized for what you are trying to do — be a good teacher and role model. It reinforces that I am doing something right, and that my teaching methods are working.”
The award is sponsored by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.
Davis, who teaches organizational behavior, international marketing, principles of management and evolution of economic thought, believes students have to be treated as individuals.
“Students need to grasp the material, but not everyone learns in the same ways,” he said. “That is why I have an open-door policy. Some students do not want to ask questions in front of other students, but they can come to my office anytime and ask me in private.”
It’s a policy that students seem to agree with.
Nic Snowberger, a senior business administration major, said he will have taken seven classes with Davis by the time he graduates in May, including one this semester and one in the spring.
“I think he shows an exceptional interest in his students,” Snowberger said. “He’s definitely not there for the pay — he’s there to make sure the students pass their classes and get the education they paid for.”
A frequent consultant to businesses and agencies, Davis said his is a relaxed teaching style but does have rules. For example, he has no attendance policy but students know that attending class is in their best interests.
“The world is about choices, and choices have consequences,” Davis said. “If they do not do well in a course because of their absences, they learn about the consequences of their actions.”
During his years at Eastern, he has also served as dean of the College of Business from 1990-93.
“I think it reflects well on the university as well as his colleagues,” ENMU President Steven Gamble said. “Dr. Davis is a very straight-forward individual. He demands a lot from his students and they respect him. The Carnegie Foundation is recognizing something we’ve long already known.”
Davis, who has a master of business administration degree from Georgia State University, is retired as a Marine Corps officer.
Other ENMU professors receiving the award were Mary Ayala, Spanish professor, in 2002; Any Sae, chemistry professor in 1998; and Betty Lyon, mathematics professor, in 1996.
The U.S. Professors of the Year program, created in 1981, is designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.