Charles in Charge
Former MU journalism professor Charles Davis helms the Georgia J‐School.
Charles Davis’ daughter Mamie, 16, has been doing a lot of eye rolling since the family moved to Athens, Georgia, in the summer of 2013. It’s not that she doesn’t love her new college‐town home where her father, former MU journalism professor and faculty facilitator of Mizzou Advantage’s Media of the Future, is dean of the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. It’s just getting used to her freewheeling dad running into old buddies at every turn.
“When you get into the elemental core of Athens, it’s still a small town, and I know a ton of people in that small town,” says Davis, who was reared from age 4 in Athens. “We’ll be at a restaurant and somebody will look up and say, ‘Charles!’ And Mamie will groan, ‘oh no.’ She knows it’s about to be war‐story time.”
Davis spent 14 years at Mizzou, long enough to make him a Tiger fan when Mizzou plays any team but Georgia, Missouri’s football opponent 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, 2014, in Columbia on CBS. He credits his time overseeing Media of the Future as the primary reason he felt prepared to apply for the dean position at his graduate school alma mater, UGA.
“It was a marvelous internship, in a way, for a deanship,” Davis says. “It put me beside lots of deans, working with them across the university. It helped me understand the way they think.”
Davis sees more similarities than differences between the two J‐Schools, beginning with lengthy histories. The Missouri School of Journalism celebrated its centennial in 2008, and Grady will turn 100 in 2015. Both institutions are committed to experiential education, putting students in charge of broadcasting, writing, editing and producing. And both schools are nestled in beautiful, vibrant college towns.
“I spent probably too much time enjoying Athens during the 1980s, in many ways the glory days for the music scene and football,” says Davis, who occasionally grabs lunch at one of his favorite haunts, The Globe.
Because Davis’ son Charlie is a sophomore studying English at Mizzou, the family has plenty of opportunities to return to CoMo. But philosophically, as he educates tomorrow’s journalists in the Deep South, the Mizzou Advantage never left him.
“A modern university cannot answer the questions of tomorrow without bridging disciplines,” Davis says. “The questions are bigger than any one discipline or department or college.”