Dr. Beth Davison has been a member of Appalachian State University’s faculty since 1997. During her tenure she has taught in the Department of Sociology and recently became the director of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Department of Cultural, Gender and Global Studies.
Davison helps students who have a vision for their education and career but cannot find a major at Appalachian that fits their specific needs.
For example, a student who wants to study documentary filmmaking could go to Davison and work with her to create an interdisciplinary major that would include classes the student needs to graduate and continue on in a career making documentaries, Davison said.
This student’s schedule might include multimedia storytelling classes in the Department of Communication and Reich College of Education. The program of study may also include classes from the Department of Art and a film classes in the Department of English, Davison said.
One of the reasons Davison gives this example may be because she was once in that same place.
In the past 10 years, Davison built on her love of watching documentaries by taking continuing education classes at the Duke Center for Documentary Studies. She brought the training she received back to Appalachian.
In 2008 her proposal to create a documentary studies program was approved by the university and Davison became a co-director of University Documentary Services, where students and faculty can check out equipment and learn how to use it for a project.
In 2015, Davison released a documentary she made on the legacy of the Cone family and their influence in North Carolina, called Denim Dynasty.
Davison said she is also excited about the Interdisciplinary Studies minor in non-profit management which started in 2011 and continues to grow.
“We have amazing non-profits in the area,” Davison said. “Having students help out can also be a highlight in their careers because it allows them to apply what they are learning in class and feel good about it.”
Davison said her philosophy toward her new role is to embrace the possibilities.
“I want to hear what people are interested in and work with students to help them pursue their career goals,” she said. “I love working with people who think outside the box.”