Anita Davis

Associate Professor of Music Education, Director of the Center for Research in Creative Learning

Anita P. Davis, Ph.D., is an accomplished musician, educator and researcher, and Director of the Center for Research in Creative Learning, organized for collaborative research and school partnerships emphasizing creativity in arts and sciences learning.   As administrator of the center, approved by the Mississippi Institutes of Higher Learning in 2007, Dr. Davis coordinates interdisciplinary scholarship and teacher professional development through learning partnerships linking conceptual knowledge in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and the arts.  She has received research support approximating $1.5 million over the past decade awarded by the National Science Foundation, U. S. Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts, Mississippi Arts Council, Mississippi Department of Human Services, Music-in-Education National Consortium, and the Mississippi Space Grant Consortium.  Dr. Davis has also been recognized over the course of her career with numerous awards for her contributions to students’ creative development, and publications in Visions of Research in Music Education, Journal of Research in Music Education, International Journal of Social Sciences, Hinshaw Music, Silver Burdett Making Music Your Own, and the International Journal of Research in Choral Singing.

Dr. Davis’ organizational and collaborative skills are grounded in her experience leading internationally recognized choruses for more than twenty-five years as director of university, high school, and non-profit programs.  As a national, regional, state, and local consultant and adjudicator for music festivals and educator workshops, her work has assisted teachers and students at multiple levels.  Her scholarly perspective results from a broad range of study and performance with many world-renowned choral conductors including Robert Shaw, Joseph Flummerfelt, Wilhelm Ehmann, Fraukke Hausemann, Rodney Eichenberger, Andre Thomas, and Gerald Mack and many others in education research, piano and voice performance, and composition.

Dr. Davis holds a Ph.D. in music education, a Master of Music in choral conducting and a Bachelor of Music Education degrees from Florida State University. She also studied at the University of Hartford and Westminster Choir College.  She joined the faculty at The University of Southern Mississippi in 1999 having served as an assistant professor at Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey and as Director of Choral Activities at Georgia Southern University. At the University of Southern Mississippi, she contributes to development of the music education and interdisciplinary studies programs, consults and presents throughout the U.S. for interdisciplinary, music, and arts learning, and supports continuous professional learning for Mississippi’s teacher leaders through Think Beyond, a learning community program established by the Center for Research in Creative Learning.  This program, in collaboration with the Gulf Coast Education Initiative Consortium and the Pascagoula River Audubon Center, provides contextual opportunities for teachers to lead and teach other teachers through projects that infuse concepts and common core standards in science, mathematics, reading, and music and the arts. Additional information about the Think Beyond program is available at