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WVU Online Faculty Testimonial - Steve Davis

Steve Davis profile image.

WVU School of Public Health

A teaching style that is student-centered

Steve Davis

"I promise all my students that I will see them successfully through my courses, provided they are determined to put in the work and effort."

Steve Davis with his wife in front of green trees.

Steve Davis with his wife in front of a giant canyon.

Steve Davis with his wife standing on a bridge in downtown Morgantown.

Steve Davis with his wife in front of the Hampshire House.

From a very young age, Steve Davis wanted to help others and that led him to a career in healthcare.

"I originally thought I was going to run nonprofits, and thus pursued graduate degrees in social work and public administration."

His first job after graduate school involved establishing a research program for the WVU Department of Emergency Medicine, where many of the projects sought interventions to reduce suffering and increase the quality of care.

After 19 years conducting research in Emergency Medicine, Steve accepted a faculty position in the WVU School of Public Health in 2018. Since joining Public Health, he has developed a teaching style that is student-centered.

He believes learning does not take place in the context of anxiety and fear.

"My first teaching philosophy is related to this. No student should ever have any fear about failing if honest effort and engagement are put forth,” he says. “I encourage them to reach out to me at any time for assistance."

Another part of his teaching philosophy: Laughter is the best medicine.

"In my undergraduate classes, I have become somewhat known for my historically bad dad jokes,” he laughs."
"Co-learning is a gift. As much as I am excited to have the opportunity to serve as your instructor, I am equally excited to learn from you."

q & a

What technology do you use in the classroom?

"All course material is located in an electronic learning management system (i.e., SOLE, eCampus) and I release new material in the system each week. I also use Panopto and Zoom to record highlight videos of the course material. I have used Kahoot! as a fun way to conduct assessments of the course material and I also make extensive use of the 'Comments' function in Microsoft Word to leave detailed feedback within submitted student assignments."

About Mentoring

"My first mentor taught me to look for the best in my students. He saw things in me that I failed to see in myself. My second mentor, during my dissertation work, was a great support for me when I was dealing with life’s stressors. This taught me the importance of taking the time to check on the well-being of all students who take my classes."

What is the difference between online teaching vs on-campus?

"The vast majority of communication is nonverbal. Therefore, the greatest challenge with online teaching is student engagement and creating a sense of community. Students primarily engage courses in three ways: with the course material, directly with the instructor, and with their fellow students. In an online medium, significantly more time is needed to ensure that students receive detailed written feedback from the instructor and have opportunities to interact with their peers via group work."

What is the key to student success?

"Determination. I promise all my students that I will see them successfully through my courses, provided they are determined to put in the work and effort."

Inside WVU

When Steve began his doctoral studies at WVU, he was shocked to learn that West Virginia had one of the highest incidence rates of hepatitis C virus in the country. Most new cases were observed in people who inject drugs and share contaminated syringes.

His research showed that European countries have had great success in reducing hepatitis C infection by implementing syringe-access programs. These programs provide clean syringes in exchange for used syringes to prevent infectious disease in a nonjudgmental manner. This approach resonated with him, given his background in social work, which emphasizes meeting people where they are. It became the topic of his dissertation.

Outside WVU

Most recently, Steve has partnered with the West Virginia Bureau for Medical Services to pilot a telehealth intervention that seeks to allow Medicaid participants returning to their communities from a long-term care facility to live and thrive at home with their families.

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