Sharon Davie Biography
Sharon Davie, A Women's Center Pioneer
Sharon Lynn Davie founded the University of Virginia Women’s Center in 1989, and the University’s Women’s Studies Program at U.Va. in 1980. Since the University of Virginia Women’s Center opened its doors in 22 years ago, it has grown exponentially, and has both national and international impact. Serving students, faculty, staff, and community members, the Center is committed to diversity and gender equity in education, to profound culture change, and to the irreplaceable importance of women’s studies, leadership, and activism.
By 1992, the Dean of the Darden Graduate School of Business requested that Women’s Center Director Davie join the faculty as a consultant on gender climate issues at the school for three years, even as she continued to direct the Center. In 1995-1996 she was an American Council on Education Fellow in residence at the Office of the President at Rutgers University.
Sharon Davie edited and wrote significant parts of the only full-length book on women’s centers: University and College Women’s Centers: A Journey Towards Equity (Greenwood 2002; revised, 2009). She was named a Fulbright Special Scholar during 2006-2011. She has presented at the International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women in Uganda (2003); South Korea (2005); and Madrid (2008). Davie received the Outstanding Service Award from the Serpentine Society, the national LGBT Alumni Group of the University of Virginia, in 2009.
In 2010, she was invited by the University of Nairobi in Kenya to help shape their new African Women’s Studies Center. Davie has written on global women’s centers for UNESCO, with publications distributed worldwide (2009), and was the guest speaker for International Women’s Day in southeastern Kenya in March 2010. Currently she is writing about women’s economic empowerment groups in Kenya, and on grassroots women’s leadership in El Salvador.
With all this, she is devoted to the day-to-day welfare of the Women’s Center and the individuals it serves. She believes in its mission: To teach students how to create change--in themselves, in the community, and in the world. She is dedicated to the welfare of students, whether she is fighting for more resources for women students who are survivors of violence, or mentoring the student interns in International Initiatives. She is also dedicated to the welfare of women elsewhere in the University, and to those in the community who have few resources.
Core programs include: 1) the Young Women Leaders Program, a mentoring program for college women and at-risk middle school girls, which has been replicated nationally and internationally; 2) Sexual and Domestic Violence Services, which includes the Men’s Leadership Project; 3) Counseling Services, which includes the Eating Disorders Education Initiative and the Trauma Counseling Program; 4) Iris: A Magazine for Thinking Young Women; and 5) the Diversity and Advocacy Program. The latter program includes the year-long Women’s Center Internship for students; study abroad courses in El Salvador and South Korea that explore women’s leadership and pressing issues; a mentoring program for women faculty; a leadership events series; the Distinguished Alumna Award; the Philosophers Club, a program for at-risk high school students; and the Free Legal Clinic.
Sharon Davie received her BA from Dickinson College, and her MA and Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia. She is currently completing coach certification from the International Federation of Coaches, with a specialization on working with women leaders and those in the midst of life transitions.