John Davis is passionate about politics. A quick look around his office is a dead giveaway, although you might not be able to guess his political leanings, which is just the way he wants it.
Davis’ cramped office on the second floor of the Memorial Classroom Building at the University of Arkansas at Monticello is adorned with photographs of President George H.W. Bush, a young Bill Clinton campaigning for Congress, a Norman Rockwell print of John Kennedy, and a campaign poster touting his grandfather, the late John C. Davis, for sheriff of Independence County.
An assistant professor of political science and a member of the UAM faculty for less than a year, Davis was recently appointed by Chancellor Karla Hughes to serve as the university’s director of governmental relations. Davis will work with the General Assembly and local and county officials as an advocate on behalf of UAM. He will also track legislation as it’s being formed to explore its impact on higher education.
“I am so pleased that Dr. Davis has agreed to take on the additional duties of director of governmental relations,” said Hughes. “It is vitally important for the institution that we have someone who can build relationships with those who shape policy affecting higher education. I am confident John will be able to articulate the needs and goals of the university and provide valuable insight into the legislative process.”
Davis will continue to teach classes in government, research methods, campaigns and elections, and Arkansas politics while representing UAM at the state capitol. “I’m very excited to have this opportunity,” said Davis. “I’ve always had an interest in politics and the political process. We talked politics a lot as a family. My grandfather was involved in politics as a county sheriff and my great-uncle, Don McSpadden, is a prosecuting attorney and will be a district judge in January.”
A native of Hot Springs and a graduate of Lakeside High School, Davis holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. He has worked on several political campaigns but believes partisan politics has no place in either his classroom or in his role as director of governmental relations.
“I teach my classes in a way that I don’t want my students to know my political beliefs,” he explained. “I just want them to have an open mind. I’ll approach my job in governmental relations in the same way with my sole focus to represent UAM and higher education with passion.”
Davis replaces Scott Kuttenkuler, who recently accepted a post as vice president of student affairs at Southeast Arkansas College in Pine Bluff. “I want to thank Scott for his tireless efforts on behalf of the university,” said Hughes. “We wish him all the best as he begins a new chapter in his professional life.”