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Alumna Selected As Moritz’ First Director of Student Services
April (Opper) Davis ’03 has wanted to work with students ever since her graduate school years at Eastern Michigan University.
Back then, she dreamed of earning her Ph.D. in English and opening up the world of literature and the beauty of the English language to college students.
“I had two very wise professors tell me not to get my Ph.D. because there were so few jobs,” Davis said. “They were right, and I have seriously considered writing a thank-you to both of those professors since then.”
Instead, Davis went to law school, graduating from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2003. As the College’s new director of student services, Davis will be an asset to students looking for advice, explained Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs Monte Smith.
“She is smart, but she also has compassion, which is essential in this job,” Smith said. “What impressed the hiring committee most about April was that they could see a student being able to talk with her easily.”
After law school, Davis clerked for the Michigan Court of Appeals and then began a career in real estate litigation at Baker & Daniels in Indianapolis. She later worked for Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP and Plunkett Cooney, P.C. in Columbus.
“I really liked property law in school. It’s a practical area of law,” Davis said, adding that she has her real estate and title insurance licenses. “I’m one of those crazy people who could go to open houses all weekend.”
While practicing, Davis still pursued her dream of working in a classroom. At Moritz, Davis was an adjunct professor of Appellate Advocacy. She is also an adjunct professor at Capital University, where she teaches College Reading & Writing Skills in the school’s English department. Her students may groan as they pore over Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion, but it is one of Davis’ favorite reads.
“That class is so fun to teach, it hardly feels like work – until I’m grading papers at 2 o’clock in the morning. Then it feels like a job!” she said, laughing.
Smith worked with Davis in Appellate Advocacy and recalled the feedback he heard from students working with her.
“They would say, ‘She’s so nice. I called her at 10 o’clock, and she talked to me for an hour,’” he said. “She’s the kind of person who will lay awake at night worrying about someone – and that is sometimes required in this line of work.”
Smith has handled approximately 500 to 550 student visits per year. Prior to scheduling classes, students want input on which courses to take and how to balance workloads. At other times, they come with questions about taking summer classes to pursuing dual degrees. But students also stop in when experiencing difficulties at school or home that are interfering with their academic success.
Because all of those are critically important conversations, there was a need to dedicate more resources to the department, Smith said.
As the first director of students services, Davis will assist with academic and student advising; act as a liaison for students with disabilities; coordinate the judicial externship program; work with the Student Bar Association and other student organizations; and collaborate with other departments for orientation and hooding.
As a former law student, Davis can identify with the concerns of students at Moritz. Some are anxious about meeting all of the requirements for graduation, while others are struggling to get by in classes.
“Students should never feel embarrassed to come talk with me,” she said.
Davis believes students can find the right opportunities at Moritz – even if they are sometimes unexpected.
She met her husband, Bruce Davis ’04 of Bruce T. Davis Co. LPA., at orientation, for example. However, it wasn’t until Professor Quigley’s course in International Law, where they sat next to each other, that their love bloomed. “I didn’t learn much in that class,” Davis laughed, “which is shame because I was really looking forward to it.”
In her free time, Davis enjoys camping, running, reading, and “embarrassingly doting” on her and Bruce’s cats Lily, Lionel, and Emma.
This article was written by Monica DeMeglio.