Damon A Williams
Damon A. Williams, PhD is a higher education administrator and author. He has served as Associate Vice Chancellor and Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since August 2008. Williams is the first full-time Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate at UW-Madison, where he also serves as Chief diversity officer
Chief diversity officer
The chief diversity officer or CDO is an organization’s executive level diversity and inclusion strategist. According to journalist Bill Picture, about 20% percent of Fortune 500 companies employ diversity officers . Steve O...

. In addition to his full-time role as Vice Provost, Williams also holds a clinical assistant professor appointment with the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Williams' work is focused on inclusive excellence, strategic planning for diversity, academic engagement, and organizational change in higher education.

Background and Education

Williams was born on March 22, 1972 in Springfield, Ohio and raised in Dayton, Ohio. As a teenager he attended Western Reserve Academy
Western Reserve Academy
Western Reserve Academy is a private, mid-sized, coeducational boarding and day college preparatory school located in Hudson, Ohio.-History:...

 boarding school. After graduating in 1990 he began his undergraduate studies at Miami University
Miami University
Miami University is a coeducational public research university located in Oxford, Ohio, United States. Founded in 1809, it is the 10th oldest public university in the United States and the second oldest university in Ohio, founded four years after Ohio University. In its 2012 edition, U.S...

 in Oxford, Ohio. He graduated in 1994 with a Bachelors of Science in Sociology and Black World Studies. He received a Masters degree in Leadership Development & Organizational Dynamics in 1996, also from Miami University. In 2001 he received his doctorate in organizational behavior and management from the University of Michigan Center for the Study of Higher and Post-Secondary Education.


While completing his masters degree at Miami University, Williams was a Freedom School Coordinator for the Children’s Defense Fund’s Black Community Crusade for Children. During his PhD studies at the University of Michigan, Williams was a research and project associate for the Associate Provost and Director of the Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives (OAMI), providing leadership in the development and execution of strategic diversity initiatives for the University. He held this position from 1997 to 2002, when he was hired by the University of Connecticut
University of Connecticut
The admission rate to the University of Connecticut is about 50% and has been steadily decreasing, with about 28,000 prospective students applying for admission to the freshman class in recent years. Approximately 40,000 prospective students tour the main campus in Storrs annually...

 to be the Assistant Vice Provost in the Office of the Vice Provost for Multicultural and International Affairs. While there he developed and led initiatives on inclusive excellence, campus climate, recruitment and retention, and diversity and learning. In 2008, Williams left the University of Connecticut to become the Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate at UW-Madison.

UW-Madison Efforts

As chief diversity officer, Dr. Williams continues his efforts in strategic diversity and inclusion initiatives spanning a number of areas including recruitment and retention, teaching and learning, marketing and communication, training and leadership development, research and scholarship, and other areas of priority for universities diversity and excellence interests. Dr. Williams continues to work on new faculty diversity efforts, closing the achievement gap initiatives and gateway course curriculum reform efforts.
Most recently Dr. Williams developed and oversaw the strategic realignment of diversity offices on the UW-Madison campus, creating for the first time a centralized office from which campus diversity efforts would be directed.

National Diversity Efforts

Williams was a founding member of the editorial board of the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, a joint publication of the American Psychological Association
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States. It is the world's largest association of psychologists with around 154,000 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. The APA...

, the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE), and American Council on Education
American Council on Education
The American Council on Education is a United States organization, established in 1918, comprising over 1,800 accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities and higher education-related associations, organizations, and corporations....

. Dr. Williams also served as scholar-in-residence for the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ Greater Expectations Leadership Development Institute for three years. Additionally, he was the lead author for a Ford Foundation-funded monograph on the future of diversity work in higher education entitled Toward a Model of Inclusive Excellence and Change in Higher Education. Dr. Williams is a former member of the AACU Diversity Digest Advisory Board, and is co-principal investigator of “Chief Diversity Officer Study in Higher Education” and the article "What is a Chief Diversity Officer?" Dr. Williams also co-authored two books about chief diversity officers with Dr. Katrina Wade-Golden of the University of Michigan: The Chief Diversity Officer: A Primer for Presidential Leadership (2008) and A Matter of Excellence: Strategic Diversity Leadership in the Academy (upcoming).

Major Publications

  • Williams, D. & Kolb, C. (Press). “Organizational learning as a framework for overcoming glass-ceiling effects in higher education.” To appear in Jackson, F.L and O’Callaghan, M. E. (eds). Measuring Glass Ceiling Effects in Higher Education: Opportunities and Challenges. New Directions for Institutional Research.
  • Williams, D. & Wade-Golden K. (Press). The chief diversity officer: Strategy, structure, and change management. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
  • Williams, D. & Wade-Golden, K. (2008). “The complex mandate of the chief diversity officer.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. Volume 55, Issue 5, Page B44. Washington, DC.
  • Williams, D. (2008). “Beyond the diversity crises model: Developing a decentralized campus diversity planning and implementation process.” Planning for Higher Education. Ann Arbor, MI: Society of College and University Planning.
  • Williams, D. & Wade-Golden, K. (2008). The chief diversity officer: A primer for presidential leadership. Washington, DC: American Council of Education.
  • Williams, D. (2007). “Achieving inclusive excellence. Strategies for achieving real and sustainable changes in quality and diversity.” About Campus, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 8–14.
  • Williams, D. & Clowney, C. (2007). “Strategic planning for diversity and organizational change: A primer for higher education leadership.” Effective Practices for Academic Leaders, Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 1–16.
  • Williams, D., Berger J., and McClendon, S. (2005). Towards a model of inclusive excellence and change in post-secondary institutions. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges and Universities.
  • Williams, D. (2005, May). “Seven recommendations for highly effective senior diversity officers.” Diverse Issues in Higher Education, pp. 52, Fairfax, VA: Cox, Mathews, and Associates.

External links

UW-Madison Diversity and Climate http://www.provost.wisc.edu/climate.html

Creating Community http://www.diversity.wisc.edu/

Learning, Relationship Building, and Prioritizing: Strategic Transition Framework 2.0 http://www.diversity.wisc.edu/docs/UW_OVPDC_Transition_2008_print.pdf
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