Beth Mayer-Davis, the Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Nutrition and Medicine, chair of the department of nutrition and the director of the UNC Nutrition Obesity Research Center, has been named dean of The Graduate School, effective Sept. 1, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Provost and Chief Academic Officer J. Christopher Clemens announced in a campus message July 22.
“We were fortunate to appoint a veteran administrator from the wealth of talent on our campus to lead this key unit before the new school year begins,” the pair wrote.
For the past eight years, Mayer-Davis has led the nationally recognized department of nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health. During that time, she prioritized faculty success and helped create an environment for faculty to thrive. She implemented a mentoring program, established a committee to nominate faculty for academic awards and aligned her colleagues’ professional development interests to their committee service in the department.
Mayer-Davis is also an accomplished scholar with an impressive track record of research, teaching and mentoring students and faculty, the message continued. She was principal investigator for the Carolina clinical site of the landmark SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study and served for more than 15 years as co-chairperson for this large multi-center study. Mayer-Davis is also co-principal investigator for the Carolina clinical site of the Nutrition for Precision Health study. She has authored more than 300 peer-reviewed publications, secured more than $45 million in active research funding, supervised dozens of graduate students throughout her career and is co-director of the NIH-funded nutrition training grant for doctoral students. A Carolina faculty member since 2008, Mayer-Davis will retain her appointment as Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor of Nutrition and Medicine.
Mayer-Davis is well versed in faculty governance and is currently serving a second term on the Faculty Executive Committee. Outside Carolina, she is active in several professional organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, where she was president for health care and education in 2011. She has also served on the board of directors for the American Society for Nutrition and is a current member of its foundation board. She was appointed to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee by the secretary of the USDA and the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She also served as an appointee of President Obama on the Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion and Integrative and Public Health.
Mayer-Davis earned a bachelor of science in dietetics from the University of Tennessee, a master of science in public health from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley.
“I’m excited to focus on the future of The Graduate School and continue to deliver academic excellence for our amazing graduate students,” Mayer-Davis said in a statement. “It’s an honor to join this talented team and support student success in critical teaching and research endeavors that make a difference in North Carolina and the world.”
“Beth takes the helm at The Graduate School during one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year, and we are grateful that she and current dean Suzanne Barbour will work together to ensure a seamless transition over the coming weeks,” Guskiewicz and Clemens wrote.
Next month, the school will welcome more than 2,500 new students, bringing with them a diverse range of professional and life experiences. The incoming class will join thousands of other talented students in more than 160 degree-offering programs. Many of these programs are consistently ranked in the top 10 nationally, including those in public health, nursing, health sciences and information and library science.
“The Graduate School has long exemplified Carolina’s rich tradition of teaching, research and public service,” Guskiewicz and Clemens wrote. “We are confident that under Beth’s leadership, the school will continue this path of excellence and help shape the next generation of leaders. Please join us in congratulating her on this new role.”