Joan Davison (nee Doverspike) received her doctorate in Government and International Affairs from the University of Notre Dame in 1984 where she served as a University Fellow. Her research focused upon US – Soviet relations and US Foreign Policy. Previously she earned a BA summa cum laude from Wheeling University. While at Wheeling, the College awarded her an athletics scholarship – its first ever to a female student. In 1978, she received the Alumni Scholar-Athlete Award, again the first female recipient. In 1987 she was inducted into the Wheeling Athletics Hall of Fame as a Charter Member. In 2012, she returned to Wheeling as an Alumni Scholar in Residence.
Professor Davison arrived at Rollins in 1986 as a visiting faculty member in Political Science, and subsequently her line was converted. She offered courses in Comparative Politics and International Relations and earned tenure and promotion to professor. In 2000, she was named to the Arthur Vining Davis Fellowship and in 2011 received the Cornell Distinguished Faculty Award. She has more than thirty publications on topics ranging from democratization to ethnoreligious conflict to US foreign policy. Her various research trips led to time spent in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Poland, and the Netherlands. Professor Davison is a member of three academic honor societies: Alpha Sigma Nu, Pi Sigma Alpha, and Omicron Phi Delta.
Professor Davison actively engaged in faculty governance and service. She chaired both the Faculty Evaluation Committee and Professional Standards Committee. She served as vice president of the faculty for four different terms during the course of her 36 year career at Rollins. Most notably, Professor Davison was the institution’s NCAA Faculty Athletics’ Representative for more than 30 years. In this capacity, she served on the National Faculty Athletics Representative Association Executive Council from 2015 -2021. In 2019-2020, she served as the organization’s president. For her work at the institutional and national level on behalf of student-athletes, she was honored with the National Student Athlete Advisory Committee Faculty Athletics Representative of the Year 2020 – 2021. The Sunshine State Conference inducted her into its Athletics Hall of Fame in 2022, and Rollins followed with her induction into its Hall in 2023; in all she has been inducted into three Halls of Fame.
Professor Davison’s husband of 40 years also is a member of the Rollins faculty. Together they have two adult daughters. The family enjoys hiking, travel, and sports.
Davison, Joan and Zhang, Wenxian, "Interview with Joan Davison" (2022). Oral Histories. 44.
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