Dr. David Parrott: A Profile and Lens of Higher Education Today

David Parrott at UF speaking and teaching at the podium in black and white with an orange vertical stripe standing out on the front of the wooden podiumj. Dr. Parrott has one hand pointed down and his head cocked to the side above the microphone as he speaks authoritatively.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Title IX legislation that aimed to bring gender equality to college campuses. And it’s seasoned higher education administrators like Dr. David Parrott who have toiled diligently to ensure the education amendment is fairly enforced.

Post UF, David Parrott is the Title IX and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator at the University of Louisville — a demanding position, indeed.

“This is the 50th anniversary of the passage of Title IX of the educational amendments of 1972. The law states that no one who participates in a federally funded program should be discriminated against based on their sex,” he explains. Parrott elaborated on the history of Title IX by noting that the enforcement of the statute is driven by the associated regulations.  There were regulations formulated initially in 1975, followed by a number of Dear Colleague Letters issued by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, all of which provided guidance to federal fund recipients such as universities and schools.  Parrott noted “after a series of Dear Colleague Letters interpreting Title IX were issued up through 2017, we were provided new regulations in 2020 that drive how we currently enforce the statute.” 

There are currently 2,000 pages of regulations that every university is responsible for complying with, and my job is to make sure that we are in compliance with these regulations. And there are new regulations on the way.”

It’s a position he’s been preparing for his whole adult life.

Learning for Life, Not Just a Living 

Education is near and dear to Dr. David Parrott’s heart. In light of everything he’s accomplished as an educator, one of Parrott’s biggest achievements is a personal one: He’s the first person in his family to go to college. He states, “I’m a first-generation college student. My parents were blue collar workers.  I went to Western Kentucky University. As I tell everybody, I’m not just the first person in my family tree to go to college; I’m the first person in the whole orchard to go to college. There was no one in my family that had ever gone to college.”

David Parrott is proud of his educational accomplishments, including earning a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Western Kentucky University. He also holds a doctorate in education from the University of Louisville.  Parrott may have come from a family where no one before him went to college, but he definitely changed that dynamic.

UF to UofL – A Versatile Career in Higher Education

Dr. David Parrott describes his career best in his own words. He states: “I worked at Western Kentucky University, and then I went to Western Michigan as an associate dean and became an assistant VP there. Then I went to Texas A&M, where I spent 15 years and moved through all the levels of administration there up to VP. And then I went to the University of Florida as Vice President.  I currently have the pleasure of serving at my Alma Mater, the University of Louisville.” 

David Parrott began his career as an undergraduate student in 1980’s and has been working in the educational field ever since. He’s held many positions over the years, including residence hall director, assistant director of housing, director of residence life, assistant dean of students, assistant to the vice president for student affairs, assistant vice president for student affairs, dean of student life, associate vice president for student affairs, interim vice president for student affairs, executive associate vice president, chief of staff, and Title IX and ADA coordinator.

Changing Campuses and Positions – UF, Texas A&M, UofL

Dr. David Parrott finds that each post and each university offers a new learning experience for him, and a new chance to influence young adults. He stated, “Every university has a very unique and wonderfully different — dramatically different — culture. Their cultures are living, growing, changing entities that define and are defined by members of the campus community. Some cultures are history and tradition-centric and others are less so. Working at Western Kentucky was quite different than working at Western Michigan, and Texas A&M was way different than anything else I’ve ever experienced. All positive and all good, but different. The University of Louisville is my alma mater, as is Western Kentucky, and the University of Louisville is different from WKU. These differences make the campus unique and make the student experience unique. The students both shape and inherit that culture and the history of the institution shapes that culture.”

He also said, “And so all those institutions have markedly different cultures. They each need different things from the administrators they hire. Texas A&M utilized my policy and legal expertise, UF relied less on that area of my expertise and utilized my problem solving, leadership, and organizational skills. WKU allowed me to emphasize staff recruitment and staff development and WMU utilized my student conduct expertise and legal expertise.  All of them along with BGSU tapped into my teaching expertise in their graduate programs. UofL is allowing me to utilize my policy, legal, and teaching expertise.  So different institutions need different things from administrators, and you learn what they need as you interview and as you transition into the administrative role.”   

Dr. David Parrott on Finding a Career Path

While he was a college student, David Parrott discovered a career path he was passionate about. He recalls, “I was overwhelmed and underprepared and just lost. I had played high school football, I wanted to play college football, and then I got injured. So I lost that part of my early identity. But I found out that I could really meet some of my needs to lead and to engage and to be involved and so forth by working as a resident assistant in the residence halls. So I spent three years as a resident assistant. Then I moved up to be an assistant hall director, then I became a hall director. At that point, I got my master’s degree in college student personnel, which prepares you to work in college administration. And then I ended up earning a doctoral degree and simultaneously getting a lot of satisfaction from being an administrator.”

Achieving Beyond the Classroom

In addition to the positions he’s held, Dr. David Parrott has served on the faculty for the Gehring Academy, a national training academy for student conduct officials. He has served on the faculty of the Student Organization Institute and on the faculty of the NASPA AVP Institute, the national training institute for associate and assistant vice presidents for student affairs. Higher education administration is something David Parrott is passionate about, and the way he spends his time shows how dedicated he is to this cause.

Parrott is proud that he served on the board of directors for the Association for Student Conduct Administration (ASCA) as the director at large, president-elect, president, and past president. He was the chairperson and board member at large for the ASCA Foundation. He is also a proud recipient of ASCA’s highest honor. He won the Donald D. Gehring Award, given in recognition of his sustained exceptional individual contributions to the field of student conduct administration.

Dr. David W. Parrott is involved with many student-related organizations. He’s an active member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, an honorary member of the Golden Key Honor Society, and holds a life membership in Delta Sigma Pi, an international business fraternity. He also received the President’s Award from the National Orientation Directors Association.

The Future of Higher Education

David Parrott has over 25 years of experiencex helping college students remain safe at school, get access to programs they’re entitled to, and work to receive their degree. His education has provided him with a career path he loves and where he feels he can help others. While he’s proud to be the first person in his family who went to college, he knows there are many other families who are in the same position. He wants to help these students make their families proud and help them graduate. While Parrott has held many different jobs in the higher education field, his vision has always been laser focused on helping students and helping universities move forward, and his future will remain intent on these goals as he leans into new positions and new responsibilities in administration.

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