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Jemilia Davis joins School to direct Human Organizational Leadership and Development program

Looking forward to working with future change-makers in new bachelor’s program
Portrait of Jemilia Davis, Black woman in blue sweater and white top smiling at the camera

Jemilia Davis, Ph.D., the School of Education’s inaugural program director of the Human Organizational Leadership and Development program.

Jemilia Davis, previously director of strategic initiatives and external relations at N.C. State’s Belk Center for Community College Research and Leadership, has joined the School of Education to lead its new Human Organizational Leadership and Development program.

Davis joins the School as a clinical assistant professor and will serve as the inaugural program director for HOLD, a bachelor’s degree program launching with the fall semester.

Davis, who earned her Ph.D. in educational leadership, policy and human development with a program area of study in higher education from N.C. State, said she is looking forward to working with HOLD students.

“When I was an undergraduate student, studying leadership as a minor was eye-opening for me,” Davis said. “Leadership is complex and when you can give time and attention to the diverse perspectives around the topic, you realize there is even more to learn.

“I am honored to explore leadership as a field of study with the future change-makers in our communities through engaging content and meaningful experiences that build on the leadership skills students bring with them into this major.”

HOLD is designed to offer students a program of study that combines and builds upon courses in education, social science, policy, analytics, and leadership education. The program’s course of study includes several cross-listed electives in Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business, and Departments of Communication, Public Policy, and Sociology. HOLD also will build upon a track of courses at the School of Education and at the Carolina Union that will offer leadership training to students involved in campus government and other student leadership activities.

Internships as part of a capstone project are a key component of HOLD.

Davis earned her B.S. degree in education from the University of Miami and her master of education degree in college student affairs administration from the University of Georgia.
Prior to joining the Belk Center, Davis has worked in academic advising and in student affairs for seven years at UNC-Wilmington and has taught courses there, at N.C. Central University and at N.C. State.

Following is a Q&A with Davis.

What are the attributes of this program that drew you to this position?
The HOLD program is clearly on the leading edge of promise! The curriculum has all the building blocks that will help students build a strong foundation in organizational leadership and development thanks to the many who contributed to the program’s development before I arrived.

I was most drawn to the opportunity being crafted as an undergraduate program creating an opportunity for the bright minds of a young generation to challenge and contribute to the field of study. I am honored to direct a program that is like few others across the nation!

How do you expect HOLD will help prepare students for leadership roles in organizations?
We can all agree that today’s leaders face a unique set of challenges in our current climate. There is an incredible need for leaders and bold changemakers to disrupt antiquated approaches that interrupt positive change in our world.

The HOLD program provides a unique opportunity for build a strong foundation in areas like equity-minded leadership, data applications and organizational development beginning as an undergraduate that will equip HOLD students to adapt and succeed in any environment.

I look forward to discovering who will be lucky enough to work with our future graduates.

How do you foresee HOLD contributing to the School of Education?
In preparation for my interview for this position, I spent a bit of time getting to know the strategic plan. Partially because this is an area I have committed some previous energy towards, but also to begin to understand what the vision was for the School of Education.

I was inspired by how the HOLD program was embodied so much of the commitment to graduate students who will propel the world! The HOLD program will contribute to building a community for undergraduate students, learning much from what has made our HDFS undergraduate program so successful.

It will also provide faculty with an opportunity to connect with undergraduate students and begin to inspire not only future leaders across a broad range of organizations, but also to introduce leadership as a field of study and plant the seed for continued learning in our graduate programs.

Learn more about HOLD

Details about the new bachelor’s degree Human Organizational Leadership and Development program are here:
https://ed.unc.edu/academics/programs/human-organizational-leadership-and-development

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By Michael Hobbs