Alumnae Teaching Professors, Susie Phillips 2014 and Nick Davis 2017

Nick Davis was introduced as the 2017 Teaching Professor, a three year award, at the University Teaching Awards. He is pictured here with Susie Phillips, the previous recipient. 

May 22, 2017

Nick Davis Awarded Alumnae Teaching Professorship

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Nick Davis, associate professor who holds dual appointments in English and in gender and sexuality studies, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (WCAS), is the recipient of the 2017 Alumnae Teaching Professorship Award given by The Alumnae of Northwestern University.  The three-year award honors a tenured faculty member for excellence in teaching and curriculum innovation.  Professor Davis received the honor at the University Teaching Awards ceremony, held May 18, 2017, in the Guild Lounge in Scott Hall.

Professor Davis’ undergraduate teaching ranges across the entire spectrum, from first-year seminars to large introductory lectures to research-intensive upper-division courses to one-on-one advising. Colleagues describe Davis as “both a teacher and a mentor who provides a personalized, rigorous, capacious, and joyful educational experience that enables Northwestern’s undergraduates from all backgrounds, with all levels of preparation, to thrive.” One student notes, “Professor Davis’ incisive mind bolstered my thinking and argumentation.”  

Davis received his Ph.D. in English and American literature with a concentration in film and video studies from Cornell University, where he also earned his M.A.; he received his A.B., summa cum laude, in English and American Literature & Language, from Harvard University. He came to Northwestern in 2006 and has received numerous teaching awards, including the Distinguished Teaching Award (WCAS), the Distinguished Teaching Excellence Award from the School of Professional Studies, and three appointments to the Faculty Honor Roll. Davis’ writings have appeared in numerous journals and professional publications. His research focuses primarily on commercial narrative cinema in the U.S. and elsewhere, especially from queer and feminist vantages.

Letters in support of Professor Davis’ nomination are filled with accolades and words of praise from faculty and students.  “With his exuberant blend of uncompromising rigor and unfailing generosity, Davis has transformed not only the curricula of English and Gender and Sexuality Studies (GSS), but also the lives of his students, whether entering first-years, graduating seniors, or PhD. Candidates.”  “Professor Davis is truly an exceptional professor and person, whose presence at Northwestern is crucial to the intellectual, academic, and personal development of countless students.”  “Davis’ well-calibrated assignments help students craft college-level writing and hone crucial analytical skills that will enable future success, within the university and beyond.” His flagship course, Introduction to Film and its Literatures, which was added to the Weinberg curriculum in 2014, attracts more than 150 students who appreciate the “thought-provoking” and “challenging” nature of the class, as well as Davis’ “enthusiastic teaching,” his “brilliant sense of humor,” and his “passion for the materials.”

The Alumnae Teaching Professorship, which honors a faculty member for excellence in teaching and curriculum innovation, is funded by interest generated by an Endowment Fund established on The Alumnae’s 75th Anniversary in 1991, and enhanced with a gift from The Alumnae on the occasion of Northwestern University’s Sesquicentennial in 2000. 

The Alumnae of Northwestern University is an all-volunteer organization of women that raises funds for a wide range of projects to benefit the University, including fellowships, scholarships academic conferences, awards to faculty and students, and technical equipment, as well as special University projects.  Founded in 1916, and celebrating its Centennial in 2016, The Alumnae has given more than $8 million to the University in the form of grants, fellowships, scholarships, an endowed professorship, funding for special university projects, and summer internships.  For more information visit The Alumnae website (

For more information:

Michele Bresler, President & Chair, Public Relations

The Alumnae of Northwestern University

847/869-1010 [email protected]

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NR 2017 Alumnae Teaching Professorship Davis/mb