Editor's note: This story first appeared in the spring 2020 issue of the Concordian, the official magazine of Concordia University Wisconsin.
Roxxi Davis, DSW, assistant professor of social work, has only been at Concordia University Wisconsin a short time, yet her impact has been significant. Responses from students surveyed in 2018–19 placed Davis among the Top 10 full-time professors for her overall teaching and her ability to incorporate faith in the classroom. Davis, her husband, Terrance, and their son, T.J., live in Mequon, Wisconsin. When she isn’t teaching, the licensed clinical social worker serves the community through her faith-based counseling practice.
1) You’ve been described as high-energy and that you have an exuberant personality. Where does that come from?
(Laughs) My personality comes from God—He is my strength and my source. My exuberance comes from our students. They charge me. I show up each day prepared and ready to give them my best. It turns out that I’m a bit of an activist because I want to leave an impression on them so that when they go out in the field they bring the same energy and passion into their practice.
2) How does being a Christian inform your practice and teaching?
On the first day of class, I remind our students that Jesus was the first social worker. He helped the sick, worked with the depressed and oppressed, and reached out to the castaways. My personal practice is an extension of my faith. I call it GROWTH—God Rescuing Others with Truth & Healing—and I work with individuals, churches, and families to help them with personal needs, particularly in mental health, and to help them navigate the complicated health care system.
3) How do you make class engaging for students?
I bring fun, relevant activities and material to the classroom to keep them engaged. Why not have fun learning? Not everyone learns the same, and no one wants a lecture every day. I have a learning disability—dyslexia—and, thanks to my mother, I was given tools and resources to help me succeed. I still use the tools to this day and incorporate some of them into my classroom.
4) Why teach instead of work in the field full time?
I want to have as big of an impact as I can in the biggest way I know. I love my practice, but it is one-on-one; on a micro level. When I teach, I can have an influence on what my students learn and how they learn it, so that when they go out into internships and into practice they are mini Roxxis helping people and bettering the world.
5) The social work field can be heavy and draining. How do you take care of yourself so you can help others?
Self-care is so important, especially in our field. I make sure that I have my morning devotion between me and God. I read my Bible, do some journaling, and take time for reflection. After that, I work out so that I stay physically and mentally fit. I also spend a lot of time playing with my son because that helps me be creative and imaginative. As adults we forget to play, and deprive ourselves of the joy and spontaneity that comes from making our own fun.
Learn more about Concordia’s social work program at cuw.edu/socialwork.
—The spring 2020 Concordian hit mailboxes the end of April. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, email Jennifer.Hackmann@cuaa.edu.
— Lisa Liljegren is assistant vice president of strategic communications within the Office of Strategy and University Affairs.
If this story has inspired you, why not explore how you can help further Concordia's mission through giving.