Dan E. Davidson

Professor Emeritus of Russian on the Myra T. Cooley Lectureship
Dan E. Davidson headshot


Phone 202-833-7522



Ph.D., Slavic Languages and Literatures, Harvard University

Areas of Focus

Russian Literature, Russian Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition


Dan E. Davidson received A. M. and Ph.D. degrees in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, and has studied as well at Bonn, Moscow State University and the Harvard Institute for Social Enterprise. He is author or editor of forty-four books and more than 60 scholarly articles in the fields of language, culture, and educational development, including a major 20-year longitudinal investigation of adult second language acquisition in the overseas immersion context.

Dr. Davidson is professor of Russian and Second Language Acquisition, Myra T. Cooley Lectureship in Russian Studies, and has directed or co-directed 36 Ph.D. dissertations in the field of Russian and second-language acquisition over his years at Bryn Mawr. He currently teaches departmental courses on language policy and identity in Russophone Eurasia, the social dynamics of Russian, Russian in the disciplines, and has serves as course director and master class instructor of Russian 001-002. Dr. Davidson has taught previously or served as a visiting faculty member at Harvard University, Amherst College, Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Maryland/College Park. 

Dr. Davidson is president and co-founder of the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, which, since beginning operation on the Bryn Mawr campus in 1976, has developed into one of the premier international education federally funded exchange organizations, focusing its expertise on the design and implementation of advanced level language and area studies, professional development, curriculum and test development, research and evaluation, and institution building in 65 countries of the world. Its association division, the American Council of Teachers of Russian (ACTR), is dedicated to strengthening the study and teaching of Russian language and literature throughout the United States.

From 1992–1995, Dr. Davidson served as co-chairman of the Transformation of the Humanities and Social Sciences initiative sponsored by philanthropist George Soros. The program produced over four hundred experimental textbooks for schools and colleges in Eurasia. During the past 25 years, Dr. Davidson has contributed to the design and implementation of a range of US and foreign government education reform and international exchange programs.  

Dr. Davidson currently chairs the World Language Academic Advisory Committee of the College Board is immediate past president of the Joint National Committee for Languages (JNCL), vice-chair of the Board of Governors of the European Humanities University (Vilnius), vice president of the International Association of Teachers of Russian Language and Literature (MAPRIAL), member of the Executive Committee and past-chair of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, the U. S. National Foreign Language Standards Collaborative, and Chair of the Board of the Center for Educational Testing and Methodology (Kyrgyzstan), the first independent educational testing center in Central Asia.  He is an elected foreign member of the Russian and the Ukrainian Academies of Education and recipient of an honorary professorship from Kyrgyz National University (Bishkek) and of honorary doctoral degrees from Almaty State University (Kazakhstan), the Russian Academy of Sciences (Division of Language and Literature), and the State University of World Languages (Uzbekistan). He has received awards for distinguished service to the profession from the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL) in 1995 and the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages of the Modern Language Association (ADFL/MLA) in 1997. In 2005 he received the Kyrgyz National Medal of Honor (“Dank”).