WSU News

Associate dean named to national leadership team

William B. Davis
William B. Davis earned his bachelor of science degree in chemistry, physics and mathematics at the Drury University (Springfield, Mo.) and was a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar 1992-94. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) in 1999.
In 1999, he moved to the Technical University of Munich (Germany) to be an Alexander von Humboldt’s Scholar in the laboratory of Professor Maria Michel-Beyerle. He studied the dynamics of charge transport in nucleic acids, including peptide nucleic acids, and DNA.
In 2001, Davis became an assistant professor of biochemistry/biophysics in WSU’s School of Molecular Biosciences; he was promoted to associate professor in 2007.
Davis’ current research interests revolve around understanding the dynamics of DNA damage and repair in chromatin.
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PULLMAN, Wash. – William B. Davis, associate dean for undergraduate education at Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, has been selected as a Vision and Change Leadership Fellow (VCLF) to help improve undergraduate life science teaching nationwide.

Davis is part of a team of 40 leadership fellows selected from a pool of more than 250 applicants by the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Sciences Education (PULSE).
PULSE is a joint initiative of the National Science Foundation (NSF), Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and National Institutes of Health.
PULSE seeks to stimulate systemic changes within biology departments at post-secondary institutions. Its goals are based on findings from the 2011 report titled “Vision and Change in Undergraduate Biology Education: A Call to Action,” and other similar calls for transformation of undergraduate life sciences education.
VCLF will support a year-long effort that will identify and consider how to eliminate barriers and make systemic changes to improve undergraduate life sciences education. In addition, the group will recommend models for improving undergraduate life sciences education.
“The fellows represent a diverse group of extremely capable faculty … who will bring a variety of experiences,” said Judith Verbeke with the NSF.
VCLF members were selected by an expert panel for their experience in catalyzing reform in undergraduate biology education. These individuals come from 24 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They represent research universities, liberal arts colleges, comprehensive/regional universities and two-year colleges.
“The way biology is taught needs to change in order to spark student interest in science and prepare them to answer challenging 21st century problems,” said Cynthia Bauerle, HHMI.
For more information on VCLF, contact Susan Musante, education programs manager, American Institute of Biological Sciences, 703-674-2500 x311, Or go to