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Dickinson Welcomes New Popel Shaw Center Director

Yvette Davis, director of Dickinson's Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity. Photo by Dan Loh.

Yvette Davis, director of Dickinson's Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity. Photo by Dan Loh.

Yvette Davis brings decade of diversity leadership to PSC

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

There’s a new director of the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity (PSC), Dickinson’s center for students, faculty and staff who wish to build a more diverse and inclusive campus and world. And she brings a wealth of passion—and 10 years of leadership in diversity, equity and inclusion work and values-based community-building—to the good work ahead.

Deep experience

Yvette Davis is a certified diversity professional with an extensive background in supervisory and coaching experience around antiracism and multiculturalism. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from New York University and a master’s in library and information science, with a concentration in business competitive intelligence, from Drexel University. She also completed a second master’s degree in organizational development and leadership, with a concentration in diversity and inclusion, through Widener University.

Previously, Davis served as director of training & leadership development with POWER Interfaith, a statewide grassroots community-organizing network that uses a relational model to equip faith leaders and their congregations to advance social justice in issues impacting racial equity, economic dignity, criminal-justice reform, voter and civic engagement, and climate justice/green jobs in 10 Pennsylvania counties. Davis also worked in diversity, equity and inclusion while serving as a local church pastor and in other director-level roles in the Northeastern Jurisdiction and the  Susquehanna and Eastern Pennsylvania Conferences of the United Methodist Church.

Those experiences position Davis optimally to “provide vision, leadership, education and advising for students and staff on issues of diversity and inclusion to promote equality and integrity on our campus and in our community” at Dickinson, says George Stroud, vice president and dean of student life. 

Lasting effects

Arriving on campus roughly a week before the start of the spring semester, Davis is building on her connections with regional community leaders with an eye on expanding opportunities for students who wish to make a difference as community interns and volunteers. And she’s eager for the start of the new semester. 

“I’m especially excited to get to know the students, hear their stories and learn how they want the PSC to serve them so we can contribute to optimizing their education and their total experience at Dickinson,” Davis says.

She also looks forward to collaborating with centers, academic departments and other partners from across campus to advance the college’s commitment to focus support, advocacy and education around issues of race, ethnicity, social justice, and class. 

“This is important work—I know that Dickinson students will carry a lot of powerful lessons from Dickinson into the world," Davis says. "So this is a great opportunity for me, as the director of the PSC and as a member of the Dickinson community, to, hopefully, have a profound, transformative impact on young people—so many of whom already have a strong sense of personhood and already have the power to change the world. I look forward to connecting them with resources and partnering with them to help them develop the tools to joyfully sustain that strong sense of personhood and community wherever they are.”

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Published January 20, 2022