Assistant Professor of Economics
Dr. Earl Davis grew up in Charleston, South Carolina, his family migrating because of the US Navy. He worked for a regional grocery chain in the Carolinas for six months after graduating from high school. In those brief months, Dr. Davis learned enough about the working world to realize he needed to get back to school, quick. “I decided [the retail grocery business] is controlled by the illiterate and marginally competent sons of the founders of the firm. No amount of hard work would ever get me above a certain level in life without an investment in human capital,” he said. With this experience and motivation, Dr. Davis began his studies at the College of Charleston, in Charleston, South Carolina.
Completing his graduate education in December 2007, he worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Radford University in Radford, Virginia and at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia before moving back to Clemson to work as a freelance consultant.
Hired by Nicholls as a Visiting Instructor after the abrupt departure of two faculty members, Dr. Davis was hired as a permanent faculty member beginning in August of 2011. Being from the Lowcountry of South Carolina, he has an affinity for the Thibodaux area, with a particular appreciation of hurricanes, mosquitoes, and humid nights.
Dr. Davis’s “teaching philosophy”:
I studied under many great professors over the years, but it was actually at a tailgating event on Bobby McCormick’s front porch where I discovered that we are not teachers, but facilitators of learning.
It takes substantial hubris to believe one is the keeper of knowledge, to inject into minds reasoning and understanding as if they are skills to be mastered. This is the problem of secondary education—high schools specifically. The college educator can only hope to introduce some subset of an academic field. We hope that students have the curiosity, ability, and willingness to expand upon it—or abandon the field and move on. The choice is theirs, not ours. Secondary education often treats learning as a set of bulleted goals, failing to convey that academic fields are boundless because of limitless knowledge and interpretation.
It is our role as facilitators of learning to infuse economic theory with day-to-day applications and thereby introduce students to marginal reasoning. As I have spent the last few years lecturing on economics to students of diverse backgrounds—many were not in business majors—I have made it my mission to introduce students to the applications, as well as the implications, of economic reasoning.
Ultimately our basic goal as educators is to convey what economics is about—understanding human behavior facing resource constraints. If we are successful we nurture a critical and analytical view of the world around us, inoculate our students from poor or specious reasoning, and help them acquire basic tools to analyze the world and form more informed opinions.
B.S., College of Charleston; M.A. & Ph.D., Clemson University
102A White Hall