Barbara Gross Davis

 Barbara Davis in black cardigan adorned with silver floral brooch, holding an apple in one hand and smiling directly into camera

Barbara Davis earned a BS (’69), MS (’73) and PhD (‘78) at Berkeley in Psychology. She began working at Berkeley in 1976 as a research psychologist and when she retired in 2010, she held the post of Assistant Vice Chancellor, Equity and Inclusion. To say that she worked hard is an understatement; she never stopped working. In my four decades as a staff member at Cal, I have never encountered a more productive, wise and generous staff colleague. Barbara began at Berkeley with a focus on the evaluation of teaching. She retired from Cal in 2010.

Holding increasingly responsible and varied posts, she has consistently focused on teaching and learning. Barbara successfully led units key to providing academic support, such as  the Student Learning Center, the Transfer and Reentry Center, African American Student Development, Student Life Advising Services/EOP, and the Athletic Study Center. In the intervening  thirty-four years of service, Barbara worked with faculty on improving instruction including teaching techniques, the evaluation of teaching, and the development of student service units. She successfully led units swerving underrepresented minority students, transfer students, student parents, LGBTQ, military and athletes.

Davis created and directed the first Office of Educational Development to help faculty improve instruction with the goal of improving student learning inside and outside the classroom. She established the campus-wide faculty development office. Through her career, she kept a strong focus on the evaluation of faculty teaching and student learning. Her record of service on campus committees is  a testament to her leadership. She was chair of committees ranging from ASUC Auxiliary Board; Equity and Diversity for the University Athletics Board; Strategic Planning for Undergraduate Affairs; Student Fee Referendum Committee; Committee for the Improvement of Teaching Assistant Training; and Lower Sproul Plaza Revitalization Committee. She actively served as a member of an additional 22 committees.

Davis is the author of many articles and an impactful book Tools for Teaching (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2009) now in a second edition, of which chapters have been translated into Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. As her Berkeley colleague Nad Permaul said at the time of Barbara’s abrupt retirement (her position was eliminated by the incoming VCEI): “I am sure that retiring from the University will not end your advocacy for, and engagement with, students.  Thank you for a life so dedicated to the University.  From student to senior administrator, yours has been a life of service to alma mater.”

Read more:
Tools for Teaching Author, Barbara Davis, on Pedagogy