Joanna Royce-Davis joined the PLU community as the new Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students this year. Royce-Davis brings a new motto to the offices of student life: the student-teacher investment is reciprocal, everyone has something to learn.

Royce-Davis was born in Boston, Mass. and predominantly grew up in New England. She said that the West Coast is the home of her heart and has a particular fondness for the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time, Royce-Davis loves to go outdoors, making PLU’s closeness to numerous outdoor activities a perfect fit.
“I love adventure. I’m one of those people who will (try) most anything once: zip-lining, skydiving, camping and so on,” Royce-Davis said.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from Indiana University, she earned her master’s degree from San Jose State University and her doctorate from Syracuse University in rehabilitation psychology.

Dr. Joanna Royce Davis, Dean of Students
Dr. Joanna Royce Davis, Dean of Students

Royce-Davis was Dean of Students at Pacific University for 15 years, but was drawn to PLU by its mission.
“During the search process I felt a great connection to the students and faculty I met,” Royce-Davis said. “This is a place that, in every way I have experienced so far, is fully invested in their students’ learning, their experience and their outcomes.”
Royce-Davis’ daughter is a first-year student at PLU. She said it’s great to see her daughter’s experiences and it’s an insightful look into the lives of students.
Royce-Davis said one of her goals is to make sure administrators are fully partnered with students and faculty to reinforce the support and experience of student learning. PLU students don’t just learn in the classroom, Royce-Davis said.
It’s important for PLU to stay rooted in its strong foundation, Royce-Davis said. She also pointed out that she wants to make sure those foundations are effective and bring good experiences for PLU’s students.
Though Royce-Davis has received awards and recognitions throughout her career, she said her greatest professional accomplishments are when students come back to her and want to have a friendship.
“Having a community of care around is one of the best things I, or anyone, could ask for,” Royce-Davis said.
Royce-Davis is a firm believer in the PLU mission statement and said diversity is crucial for developing critical thinking and understanding the richness of the human experience.
Royce-Davis strongly encourages all Lutes to engage with the people and organizations they find themselves in contact with throughout their PLU experience.
“Ask questions, get advice and support each other,” Royce-Davis said. ◼︎

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