Teacher of the Year

Dr. Matthew Davis has been named Dominican's Teacher of the Year. Dr. Davis is a professor in the Department of Psychology whose areas of expertise include human response to natural disasters, social psychology, and media psychology.

Dominican’s Teacher of the Year is a faculty member nominated by University students. The nominee must be a model classroom teacher, be respected and admired by students and colleagues for having a successful teaching methodology, and be professionally active and generous in service to the University. Ultimately, he or she must make a discernible difference both in the lives of the students and in the campus climate through inspiring teaching and mentoring.

Dr. Davis earned his doctoral degree in the interdisciplinary field of social ecology with a focus on both social psychology and on the geological processes that create earthquakes and volcanoes. In recent years, his research has focused on hazard awareness for tsunami risks in Northern California, risk perception for volcanic hazards at Mt. Etna and Mt. Vesuvius in Italy, and the study of volcanic hazards at Mt. Rainier in Washington.

In January, Dr. Davis released the findings of a survey focusing on tsunami awareness and preparedness amongst coastal residents in Marin County. The survey was conducted last spring in partnership with the Marin County Sheriff’s Department Office of Emergency Services (OES). The survey was designed to provide a baseline measure of residents’ awareness of tsunami hazards and knowledge about actions that would need to be taken if a tsunami warning were issued. This information is being used to help guide county officials as they design public education campaigns regarding tsunami preparedness.

In February, the Discovery Channel aired a documentary featuring Dr. Davis’ research into local awareness of and preparedness for a potential volcanic eruption at Mount Vesuvius. The documentary titled “Could it Happen Here?” aired on the Discovery Times channel in the United States, Australia, and Japan.

This month Dr. Davis is presenting his research on risk perceptions and preparedness among the residents of communities surrounding Mount Rainier in Washington at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association in Vancouver, BC.
Posted May 3, 2007