Shawna Patterson-Stephens

Director of the Davis Center

Jenness House


B.S. Central Michigan University, Sociology
M.A. Michigan State University, Educational Administration
D.Phil Florida State University, Educational Administration


Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Shawna Patterson-Stephens is the Director of The Davis Center. She collaborates with students, faculty and staff to contribute to the intellectual life of The Davis Center and broader Williams community. Shawna previously held various positions at the University of Pennsylvania, Michigan State University, Penn State University, and Florida State University where she implemented intercultural programming, advised students, responded to critical incidents on campuses, facilitated diversity trainings and collaborated with community stakeholders to co-sponsor discussions around social justice issues. She has been a lecturer and instructor at Florida State University, Michigan State University and the University of Pennsylvania. She received a doctorate from Florida State University where her dissertation was titled, Love and hip hop: The meaning of urban reality television in the lives of Black college Women. Her published articles appear in the International Journal of Doctoral Studies, Alabama Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Law Review and Journal of Student Affairs at New York University.  She is currently a co-PI in a national project examining the experiences of Black doctoral women in higher education.  She is also co-editor of the forthcoming volume, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Higher Education (Routledge).


Recent Publications

Patterson-Stephens, S.M. & Hernández, E. (In Press). Mi hermana mayor: Sista’ scholar bonds for Black and Chicana women in doctoral study. Equity and
Excellence in Education

Lane, T.B., Patterson-Stephens, S.M., Foster Pierre, D., & Perez, E. (In Press). Examining relationships that matter: A qualitative study of Black women in doctoral education. Journal on College Student Development.

Patterson, S.M. (In Press). Pathways to higher education administration for African American women: A book review. The Journal of Negro Education.

Patterson-Stephens, S.M., Lane, T.B., & Vital, L.M. (2017). Black doctoral women: Exploring barriers and facilitators of success in graduate education. Academic Perspectives in Higher Education3(1), 1-35.

Griffin, K., Mwangi, C.A.G., & Patterson, S.M. (2017). The experiences of Black immigrant women transitioning into college: Moving in and moving through. In L. Patton Davis & N. Croom (Eds.), Critical perspectives of Black women in college (pp. 101-112). Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.

Cox, B.E., Reason, R.D., Tobolowsky, B.F., Brower, R., Patterson, S.M. & Luczyk, S. (2017). Lip service or actionable insights? Linking student experiences to assessment, accountability, and data-driven decision making in higher education. The Journal of Higher Education88(6), 835-862.

Patterson, S.M. (2016). Progression to womanhood: A framework on the identity development of Black American college women. Urban Education Research and Policy Annuals4(1), 65-81.