Dr. Van Davis is Principal at Foghlam Consulting, LLC where he helps colleges, universities, non-profits, and policymakers understand where higher education is heading and how to navigate that future.
Van has spent over 20 years in higher education as a faculty member, academic administrator, policymaker, and consultant. After spending a decade as a history professor at both public and private colleges, he joined the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board where he was responsible for distance education policy, the state’s multimillion dollar course redesign and faculty development programs, and organized the state’s annual Reinventing Instruction and Learning Conference. Additionally, Van worked with open educational resources and oversaw the development of the state’s digital learning objects repository. Much of Van’s time at the Coordinating Board focused on expanding higher education access, especially for returning adult students. He created GradTX, the state’s adult degree completion project, as well as the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate project which resulted in the development of the state’s first public competency-based education bachelor’s degree and the first multi-institutional competency-based program in the nation. Most recently Van served as Associate Vice President of Higher Education Policy and Research at Blackboard Inc. where he focused on federal education policy and helped a variety of internal and external stakeholders respond to challenges around student access and success, affordability, competency-based education, learning technology, workforce development, and change management. He currently serves on the board of PelotonU, a 501c3 that provides academic and social support services for post-traditional students enrolled in online competency-based education degree programs.
Van is a trained facilitator and sought after speaker. Over the last several years he’s spoken at EDUCAUSE, OLC Accelerate, UPCEA’s Summit for Online Leadership, WCET’s Leadership Summit and Annual meetings, BbWorld, Texas Distance Learning Association, US Distance Learning Association, CBExchange, SXSWedu, International Federation for Women in E-Learning, Innovations in Online Learning, as well as speaking at numerous faculty development workshops. Van is often asked to speak about the future of higher education, competency-based education, college access and affordability, pedagogical practices for online learning, and the impact of federal and state policy on higher education. Additionally, Van has authored a number of white papers and reports, has served as a contributing editor for the Journal of Competency-Based Education, and has testified before several legislative committees.
Van holds a PhD and MA in 20th Century US History with an emphasis on civil rights history from Vanderbilt University as well as a BA in History from Southwestern University. He has been a professor at Truman State University, Southwestern University, and Huston-Tillotson University where he taught a wide range of lower and upper division courses as well as serving as an outside member of EdD doctoral committees. Van currently lives in Austin, TX with his beloved wife, the writer Lisa Estus, and their three cats where he spends his free time cooking, reading in his hammock, camping, building Lego models, and dreaming about returning to Burning Man.