Dr. Jennifer (JiJi) Davis is no stranger to the brick streets on campus. She started her Montevallo path as a student in 1995. Davis began teaching as an adjunct for the University in 2006 and became a full-time faculty member in 2008. Now, Davis not only teaches at the University of Montevallo, but she also helps lead the charge in coordinating strategic partnerships between the k-collegiate schools in Montevallo.
Davis teaches elementary education methods in the College of Education. She also supervises student teachers in their lab placements throughout the semester in local elementary schools. When she is not in the classroom, she works with the principals in Montevallo’s k-12 schools to promote academic growth and partnership between the institutions through a community initiative called Montevallo Connection.
“The (Montevallo Connection) meetings are open to the public and consist of parents, faculty, staff and community stakeholders. These meetings allow for powerful conversations and collaboration between all of our schools,” said Davis.
With not every school system having a college in their town, like Montevallo, Davis and the Montevallo Connection team work to teach other school systems about how vertical teamwork can improve graduation and learning rates during a student’s entire academic career.
Davis’s goal is to inspire generations of new educators to think outside of their content area and push themselves to see how foundational education is in a child’s life.
“I hope that my students are able to see my true passion for elementary education each week in my classroom. Education is so much more than subject area content and test scores. It also requires compassion, empathy, acceptance and persistence. It is crucial that my students know they are teaching and caring for our future leaders,” said Davis. “I also try to teach the importance of service learning through my class as the students are pen pals with at-risk elementary students, lead professional learning community meetings with Future Teachers of Alabama (FTA) high school students from various schools in Shelby County and work closely with UM’s Falcon Flight students.”
Like so many who have come before and after her, Davis knew from her freshman year at UM that she belonged on the brick streets. “I have always loved the small hometown community in both the city and on campus. The professors have always gone above and beyond to make a personal connection with their students. I have learned so much in Wills Hall over the past 23 years from student life to professor life,” said Davis. “UM is truly my home away from home. I am honored to be able to work here and pass on the excitement I have for education and UM!”