Dr. Helen Davis

Associate Professor

Kirby Hall 308
(570) 408-4548

Dr. Davis’s teaching and research interests include nineteenth-century British Literature, Narrative Theory, Queer and Feminist Theory, Gender Studies, , and Composition and Rhetoric. She brings innovative teaching to the classroom through the integration of technology and experiential learning opportunities. Her goals are to use diverse and inclusive curricula to foster her students’ abilities to think critically, communicate effectively, and engage actively in the world around them. She teaches classes in English Composition (Eng 101), Introduction to Literature (Eng 120), British Literature (Eng 234), Romantic Literature (Eng 335), Victorian Literature (Eng 336), Rhetoric (Eng 308), and specialized courses. Dr. Davis was pleased to join the Wilkes faculty because of the university’s commitment to mentoring. She enjoys getting to know her students and working with them individually as well as in the classroom. She was awarded the Faculty Advisor Award for the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences in 2018. She was awarded the inaugural President’s Award for Diversity in 2016. She was awarded the Multicultural Teaching Award for the 2011-2012 academic year, which “celebrates outstanding, creative guidance of students in support of multicultural education.” She also received the “Diversity Leader Faculty Award” from the Wilkes Center for Global Education and Diversity in 2011. Dr. Davis is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion at Wilkes University.

Dr. Davis is an active member of the Wilkes community. She is the faculty advisor for the Gender and Sexuality Alliance, co-founded and serves as a coordinator for the campus LGBTQ+ Awareness and Safe Space program, facilitates a Facebook page for LGBT Wilkes alumni. She is a founding member and Co-Chair of the Council on Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity (CODIE). She has served on numerous committees, and currently serves on the Women’s and Gender Studies Committee and on the Student Life and Media Committee (SLAM)

Dr. Davis is also active in the community, serving as Vice-Chair of the board of the NEPA Rainbow Alliance and as a regular volunteer for Crestwood Schools. She provides public and institutional sessions on LGBTQ+ issues at libraries, churches, and other locations.

Dr. Davis also coordinates LGBTQ+ Awareness and Safe Space sessions for Misericordia University and King’s College, and is working with the Susquehanna school system to build an education and support structure for LGBTQ+ students.

Dr. Davis also serves on a statewide Diversity taskforce for the Greater PA Alzheimer’s Association.

Dr. Davis was on the taskforce that created the structure for the Wilkes University Honors Program, serves as the CAHSS representative on the Honors Program Advisory Council, and served as Interim Co-Director of the Program for the 2017-2018 academic year.


  • “‘I seemed to hold two lives’: Disclosing Circumnarration in Villette and The Picture of Dorian Gray.Narrative 21.2 (2013).
  • “I seemed to possess two wives”: The Professor’s Implied Narrative. JNT: Journal of Narrative Theory. 45.2 (2015).
  • “I am my own mistress”: Narrating Autonomy and Love in Charlotte Brontë’s Novels. In progress.

Professional Presentations

  • “Queer Performative Narrativity and Rethinking Community.” Presentation. International Conference on Narrative. Montreal, Canada. April 2018.
  • “Queering Performative Narrativity.” Panel organizer and Presenter. International Conference on Narrative. Lexington, KY, March 2017.
  • “Decoding the Unnarratable.” Panel organizer, Moderator, and Presenter. International Conference on Narrative. Chicago, IL, March 2015.
  • “Ambiguous Authorial Self Narration.” Panel organizer, Presenter, and Moderator. International Conference on Narrative. Cambridge, MA, March 2014.
  • “First-Person Focalization in Jane Eyre.” Presentation. International Conference on Narrative. Manchester, England. June 2013.
  • “’Vive l’Angleterre’: How Villette constructs a British Implied Reader via Belgium.” Presentation. International Conference on Narrative.. Las Vegas, NV, March 2012
  • “‘Ruled by espionage’: Repetition of the Directress character in Brontë’s The Professor and Villette” Presentation. International Conference on Narrative. St. Louis, MO, April 2011.
  • “‘Quite a woman and something more’: Focalization Patterns, Gender Performativity, and Transgressive Women.” Panel organizer, Presenter, and Moderator. International Conference on Narrative. Cleveland, OH, April 2010.
  • “How Technology Can Redesign the College Composition Classroom.” Presentation. College English Association Conference. Pittsburgh, PA, March 2009.
  • “‘I seemed to hold two lives’: Disclosing the Unnarratable in Villette.” Presentation. International Conference on Narrative, Austin, TX, May 2008.
  • “Double Vision: Split First Person Focalization in Jane Eyre.” Presentation. International Conference on Narrative, Austin, TX, May 2008.
  • “Instructing Technology Pedagogy.” Presentation. CUNY’s 6th Annual IT Conference, New York, NY, November 2007.
  • “Bi-gendered and Doubled: The Dual Focalizers of Shirley.” Presentation. International Conference on Narrative, Washington, D.C., March 2007.
  • “Love’s Madness: Male Recuperation versus Female Sublimation in The Woman in White.” Presentation. NEMLA (Northeast Modern Language Association), Baltimore, MD, March 2007.
  • “‘I Seemed to Possess Two Wives’: The Professor’s Implied Narrative.” Presentation. International Conference on Narrative, Ottawa, Ontario, April 2006.
  • “‘Speak I Must’: Self v. Communion in Jane Eyre.” The Brontës and Their World, Brontë Society of North America Conference, Pleasantville, NY, April 2004.
  • “Finding Her Voice: Jane Eyre’s Self Narration.” National Women’s Studies Association Conference, New Orleans, LA, June 2003.

Professional Consulting

  • LGBTQ+ Awareness and Safe Space Program development and delivery, Misericordia University 2016-Present
  • LGBTQ+ Awareness and Safe Space Program development and delivery, King’s College, 2018
  • LGBTQ+ Awareness and Safe Space Program development and delivery, Lackawanna and Susquehanna County School Systems, 2017-2018

Invited Talks

  • “LGBTQ 101,” Osterhout Public Library, June 2017, June 2018
  • “LGBT and Me.” Hazelton Public Library, June 2018.
  • “Ambitious Women Then and Now: Charlotte Brontë to Hillary Clinton.” O’Hop Final Word Keynote. Scholars Symposium, Wilkes University, April 2018
  • “Creating Safe Spaces for Youth.” Family Service Association Conference, 2013
  • “New Feminist Narratologies.” Invited Roundatble Presentation. International Conference on Narrative, Birmingham, England, June 2009.
  • Outstanding Advisor Award, Wilkes University, 2018.
  • Outstanding designation, Wilkes University, 2011-2012, 2017-2018.
  • Inaugural President’s Award for Diversity, Wilkes University, 2016.
  • Type I Research Grant. Wilkes University, 2009-2010, 2012-2013.
  • Multicultural Teaching award. Wilkes University, 2011-2012.
  • Diversity Leader Faculty Award, Wilkes University, 2011.
  • Type II Research Grant. Wilkes University, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018.
  • CUNY Graduate Center Doctoral Student Research Grant, 2008.
  • The Lynn Kadison Dissertation Year Award, CUNY Graduate Center, 2006-2007.
  • Instructional Technology Fellowship, CUNY Honors College, Queens Campus, 2005-2008.
  • Program Representative, Dickens Universe, University of California at Santa Cruz, 2005.
  • Writing Fellowship, LaGuardia Community College, 2003-2005.
  • Presidential Teaching Award Nominee, Baruch College, Fall 2001.
  • English Department Fellowship, Wake Forest University, 2000-2001.
  • Information Systems Assistantship, Wake Forest University, 2000-2001.
  • Graduation with high distinction in the English Major, Duke University, 1999.
  • Benjamin N. Duke Scholar, Duke University, 1995-1999.
  • Council of Independent Colleges Diversity Institute. Atlanta, GA, June 2018.
  • Northeast LGBT Conference. Rochester, NY, March 2013.
  • Northeast LGBT Conference. Albany, NY, March 2012.
  • Pennsylvania Conference for Women. Philadelphia, PA, October 2012, 2013.
  • “Queer and Feminist Narrative Theories.” Project Narrative Symposium. Columbus, OH, May 2011.
  • “Creativity, Inquiry, and Discovery: Undergraduate Research.” Council of Undergraduate Research (CUR). Durham, NC, November 2010.