People of Color & Interpersonal Communication

As the Spring 2018 semester began, Communication students were buzzing about the new courses that had been added to the course catalog. One of the new courses, People of Color and Interpersonal Communication (COMM 4222) taught by Professor Shardè Davis, has been particularly popular amongst students.

The objectives of this course are to observe the impact of race, ethnicity, and culture on interpersonal interactions and survey key theories and empirical works of past and current race relations in the U.S., negotiation of identity, and ways identity is communicated in various personal relationships. Professor Davis teaches students about the communication theories that may be relevant to many people of color that are not thoroughly covered in any other course within the university.

Students learn through many different personal experiences throughout the course. For example, students complete a project where they observe race relations in a public place on campus, and they also partake in a privilege walk to understand the different intersecting forms of identity and oppression. Students are able to gain knowledge from one another through this experiential method of learning. The classroom cultivates meaningful and productive conversation about the relations between communication and race.

Professor Davis hopes that students are able to learn theories and language that will help them understand the experiences that they go through in their lives. This class builds upon the interpersonal communication courses that students have already taken while intertwining aspects of diversity in communication. People never stop communicating, and this course teaches students how to communicate more effectively with a more diverse population.

Professor Davis stressed the importance of keeping the course relevant. Race relations in America and the world are always changing, and because of that, so will class discussions and projects. She emphasized the need to make the class relevant to the world around us and the experiences that her students are going through.

Students are thrilled to have a course like this at the university, and many of them can’t stop talking about their experiences with the course. A current student stated, “I like this course because I’m able to hear different perspectives on life and how their experiences shaped those perspectives. I would describe the class as a place where a group of students are able to have meaningful and insightful conversations about topics that our society has deemed as taboo. Dr. Davis is a great professor that has taught me valuable life lessons that I can use outside the classroom to be not only a better member of society but more importantly, a better person overall”.

The course will be offered online in the Summer of 2018 for any interested students. For any questions about the course or Dr. Davis’ research, you can email her at