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Excellence in Technology

Dr. Joshua M. Davis is the 2020 Excellence in Technology Executive of the Year Award Winner

Dr. Joshua Davis has helped grow Missouri State University's overall enrollment and graduate student enrollment with the addition of initiatives to connect students directly with the tech industry, making him this year's Technology Executive of the Year.

By Rae Snobl

May 2020

Dr. Joshua M. Davis of Missouri State University in Springfield MO
Photo by Brandon AlmsJoshua M. Davis is a professor at Missouri State University. He leads the Department of Information, Technology and Cybersecurity. Purchase Photo

In the past three years, Missouri State University has introduced new initiatives that directly connect students with the technology industry. The result has been a 17% growth in overall enrollment, a 200% growth in graduate student enrollment and many first place awards in national and regional student competitions. At the helm of this success is Dr. Joshua Davis. Davis is the department head and a professor for the Department of Information Technology and Cybersecurity at Missouri State. “I believe the ultimate customer of higher education is industry, with capable graduates serving as the value-added output justifying our existence,” Davis says. In three short years, Davis and the department have changed how it educates and integrates with industry. By working closely with Missouri’s tech companies, including Cerner, O’Reilly Auto Parts and more, the department has radically transformed the program to be highly relevant, rigorous and market-facing. “Our degrees in Information Technology and Cybersecurity were co-created and are continuously reviewed by industry, establishing an academic standard that very few programs can match, here or elsewhere,” Davis says. Davis’ extensive background in IT consulting sets him apart from other academics in this field. “My leadership vision anchors on four tenets I strive to embody each day: clear vision; transparency and consistency; embracing of diverse thinking; and hard work,” Davis says. He believes that academia offers a unique environment to execute these leadership tenets. “We rigorously scrutinize ideas, while celebrating curiosity and innovation,” he says. “When diverse thinkers are brought together around a common vision, and they are encouraged to be individuals within a team, great things are possible.”

FINALISTS  //  Simoriah Stogner  •  Thomas Douglas

NAILED IT

“Looking back at what we started in 2016 in redesigning our academic programs makes me very proud of what my team has accomplished. We did it the right way and made sure all the right people had a voice in the process.”—Joshua Davis, Professor and Department Head; Department of Information Technology and Cybersecurity, Missouri State University

FAILED IT

“When I was a software developer, I had more confidence than skill and developed the ‘perfect’ solution for a client. I ran a few test cases and moved too quickly to implementation. The nuclear fallout from that involved the CEO, CFO, CIO, IT and business unit directors, and two days of transactions that probably are still not recovered. Over 15 years later, I still use that experience to remind myself of the value of quality control, testing, backups.”—Joshua Davis, Professor and Department Head; Department of Information Technology and Cybersecurity, Missouri State University

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