Shardé M. Davis

Associate Professor

Department of Communication


Ph.D., University of Iowa, 2016


Dr. Shardé M. Davis is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication and a faculty affiliate of the Africana Studies Institute and the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Davis attended the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and conducted undergraduate research through the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. Her work was awarded the Steven H. Chaffee Undergraduate Research Award from the Department of Communication. Dr. Davis earned her B.A. in Communication and Feminist Studies as well as her M.A. in Communication at UCSB. She later moved to Iowa City, Iowa to finish her Ph.D. in Communication Studies and a doctoral certificate in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Iowa.

Her primary area of specialization is interpersonal communication, with emphases in racial and gender identity, resistance, counter hegemony, and resilience, intra/intergroup dynamics, and supportive communication. Her specific line of research explores how Black women’s complex identities — and the power-laden social structures that shape them — influence the way they communicate with close others. These interests are represented in her theory, called The Strong Black Woman Collective (SBWC; Davis, 2015). The theory explicates how Black women use their communication during group-level interactions with other Black women to collectively manage their marginal position in U.S. society. New research on the theory connects Black women’s culturally nuanced behavior to important health and relational outcomes, such as self-reported mental health, well-being, stress and anxiety, relational closeness, and group solidarity and identification. While her primary line of research focuses on communication among Black women groups, a secondary interest involves investigating communication behavior of other marginalized groups, like the elderly, people of color, financially-strained families, and divorcing couples. Dr. Davis uses a variety of methods from post-positivist, feminist, and critical perspectives to address these inquiries.

Dr. Davis has published her research in various academic outlets, such as Communication Monographs, Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Health Communication, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Women’s Studies in Communication, and Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Dr. Davis is involved in various professional communities around the nation, and her service includes serving as the Chair of the African American Communication and Culture Division (AACCD) of the National Communication Association as well as an Associate Editor of Communication Monographs and Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. Her research has been formally recognized with the 2018 American Postdoctoral Fellowship from the American Association of University Women and the 2019 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. 
In addition to her program of research, Dr. Davis is The Creator of the viral Twitter Hashtag #BlackintheIvory™️, which extended a timely opportunity for Blackademic TRUTHtellers to share personal instances (and engage in necessary conversations) about anti-Black racism in academia. She is also the inaugural recipient of the 2021 Faculty of Color Working Group Fellowship funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to edit a new book, Being BlackintheIvory: Truth-Telling about Anti-Black Racism in Higher Education (UNC Press, 2024).
Order a copy of the #BlackintheIvory book today!! Head to for more information.

Research Interests

  • Interpersonal, Relational, and Intergroup Communication
  • Communication among Black Women Groups
  • Supportive Communication
  • Race, Gender, and Communication
  • Black Feminism
  • Health Outcomes
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

Research Affiliations

Research Publications


Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-4735
Mailing Address337 Mansfield Rd Unit 1259 Storrs, CT 06269-1259
Office Location222A ARJ