Beverly J. Davenport is the eighth chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the state’s flagship public research university.
She joined the Volunteer family on February 15, 2017, after serving for more than three years at the University of Cincinnati, most recently as interim president and before that as senior vice president and provost.
At UC, Davenport initiated plans that resulted in record-breaking enrollment as well as increases in student retention and graduation rates. She directed resources to improve advising, career education, online learning, and study abroad programs. Collaborating with the athletics department, she helped make it easier for student-athletes to keep up with their studies through technology and innovative classroom spaces.
As UC’s provost, she launched several faculty hiring programs. A $60 million cluster hiring initiative recruits world-class faculty for interdisciplinary collaborations in emerging areas of study. Programs for strategic hiring opportunities and dual career assistance resulted in strong growth in the numbers of minority and female faculty.
Davenport served at Purdue University for more than 11 years, most recently as vice provost for faculty affairs. Before that she was a senior fellow on the provost’s staff at Virginia Polytechnic University. She worked for the University of Kansas for 11 years, most recently as a divisional dean for social sciences. She began her academic career at the University of Kentucky, where she rose to the rank of associate professor and chaired the Department of Communication.
An accomplished scholar, she has published three books on issues of work life and workplace civility and has authored more than 100 papers. She has served as principal investigator or co-principal investigator on more than $19 million of funded research projects and has been recognized for advancements in technology-infused learning and health communication, including telemedicine and telehospice.
Davenport earned a PhD in communication with a minor in organizational behavior from the University of Michigan, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in communication and journalism from Western Kentucky University. She also completed Harvard University’s Institute for Management and Leadership in Higher Education.
She is a native of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and several members of her extended family live in the greater Nashville area.
She has two grown children: daughter Sloan Sypher, who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in biomedical engineering and is a graduate student in the University of Cincinnati’s School of Design, and Ford Sypher, who studied international affairs at Columbia University and served in the 75th Ranger Regiment of the US Army. He now lives in New York City.