University of Illinois School of Music portrait of Ollie Watts Davis was taken on November 10, 2017

Ollie Watts Davis

Provost Fellow and Professor of Music
(217) 244-3337

Deb Kincaid
(217) 244-4545

As a Provost Fellow, Dr. Davis is working with the Student Success Initiative and will focus on matters related to undergraduate education and student achievement.

Ollie Watts Davis earned the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Music Phi Beta Kappa from Illinois; the Master of Arts from West Virginia University; and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Music Education from West Virginia Institute of Technology.

In addition to her research as performing artist and pedagogue, Professor Davis’s scholarship focus is the sacred music of Black Americans, and the use of art forms to inspire comprehensive learning outcomes among youth. Her work is realized with her TALKS (transferring a little knowledge systematically) mentoring curriculum; Black Chorus at Illinois Summer Youth Music camp; StudiO: the Ollie Watts Davis Institute for Vocal Arts; her national Black Sacred Music Symposium conference; and her signature ensemble, the University of Illinois Black Chorus.

Dr. Davis is the Suzanne and William Allen Distinguished Professor of Music. In 2008 she was named a University Scholar, received her second Campus Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2014, and was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award in 2018. Since her New York debut at Carnegie Hall, she has appeared with leading orchestras, at festivals, and for scholar residencies. She has been heard on National Public Radio, in documentaries, and featured on four recording projects.

Learn more about Dr. Davis’ appointment as a Provost Fellow, or visit her faculty web page.