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YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Young Harris College recently announced that Dr. Johnathan Davis earned the 2020 Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award. The $1,000 award is sponsored by Vulcan Materials Company. It was established in 1991 to honor outstanding professors on select member campuses of the Georgia Independent College Association.

To earn the award, faculty members must assist their institutions in nurturing an academic climate that fosters teaching excellence, and they must provide leadership to enhance the campus community.
“It is an honor to receive this award among such a passionate, dedicated and talented faculty,” said Dr. Davis, who serves as an associate professor of biology. “I have been fortunate to have supportive mentors within the Department of Biology to guide me and impart valuable wisdom to me. Many talented students have conducted research with me over the years, and this accomplishment reflects their hard work and dedication. I must also acknowledge my amazing wife, Malissa, who is a trained biologist, works alongside me in research and supports me in so many ways.”

Dr. Davis joined the faculty of Young Harris College in the fall of 2011. In addition to his role as an associate professor of biology, he serves as coordinator of the environmental studies program. Dr. Davis earned a bachelor’s degree at Mississippi State University in wildlife and fisheries science, a master’s degree at Nicholls State University in marine and environmental biology, and a doctorate at Tennessee Technological University in environmental science. He teaches various organismal biology courses at Young Harris College. He is passionate about the conservation and management of aquatic biodiversity of local rivers, streams and lakes. His recent research has included the study of local crayfishes and fishes, as well as partnerships with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to study the native sicklefin redhorse in Brasstown Creek and spotted bass growth rates in Chatuge, Nottely and Lanier Reservoirs. Dr. Davis was recently named an Appalachian Teaching Fellow by the Appalachian Regional Commission and took two groups of students to Washington, D.C. to present research on local water quality and freshwater snorkeling.

“Johnathan is broadly recognized among his students and his peers as an innovative educator and program leader,” said YHC’s Provost Dr. Jason Pierce. “In addition to directing the environmental science and the environmental education and leadership programs, he has led both the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Identification Team and the QEP Development Team. In the classroom, in the lab and in the field, he is an encouraging but demanding instructor who pushes students to grow past their perceived limits.”

About Young Harris College

Young Harris College is a private baccalaureate and master’s degree-granting institution located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through an education that purposefully integrates the liberal arts and professional studies. The College has four academic divisions: Fine Arts; Humanities; Mathematics, Science and Technology; and Professional Studies. More than 1,400 students are enrolled in its residential and Early College programs. The College is an active member of the NCAA Division II and remains a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. For more information, visit