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New employee to help implement diversity strategy

September 15, 2011

Eric G. Williams has joined the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate, where he is expected to play a critical role in helping the university drive a cohesive, integrated diversity agenda.

He will work with such programs as the Pre-College Enrichment Opportunity Program for Learning Excellence (PEOPLE), Posse, the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives and the Center for Educational Opportunity, says Damon Williams, UW–Madison’s chief diversity officer and vice provost for diversity and climate.

Eric Williams, whose title will be assistant vice provost for student diversity and academic excellence, will also collaborate with the Division of Student Life, the vice provost for teaching and learning, and schools, colleges and student groups across campus.

“Having someone of his experience and caliber will add immeasurably to our collective ability to enhance graduation rates, improve campus climate and provide a supportive voice in our efforts to engage issues of diversity and educate iconic Badgers,” Damon Williams says. “We could not hope for a better and more experienced leader to join our university in this critical role.”

Eric Williams comes to UW–Madison from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), where he has been director of the university’s Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program.

In that position, he has been responsible for administering a program that offers academic, financial and social support for a diverse population of undergraduate and graduate students.

Eric Williams says he’s looking forward to working with students to create a culture of diversity at UW–Madison. That means helping to create an environment where all students, especially those from underrepresented populations, can thrive at the university and beyond, he says.

It also means working with students throughout their academic experience, from pre-college pipeline programs to helping them make successful transitions to careers and graduate and professional schools, he says.

“We just want their experiences here to be great, and we’re going to ensure we’re doing all that we can so that students feel comfortable and welcomed, and that once they leave UW–Madison, they will always want to come back,” Eric Williams says. “If students have a good experience, they’re more willing to share that experience with other students and that’s what we want in each and every alumnus.”

Eric Williams has a doctoral degree in educational leadership and policy studies from Virginia Tech, as well as a master’s degree in higher education and college student personnel from Kent State University and a bachelor’s degree in African-American community and cultural studies from Virginia Commonwealth University.

This summer, the Office of the Vice Provost for Diversity and Climate also welcomed Carl Hampton as a special assistant to Damon Williams. He will help manage issues and projects and serve as an internal and external liaison for the division.

Hampton was an aide advising on human services, criminal justice and diversity issues to former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and a legislative liaison and policy adviser to former Gov. Jim Doyle.

Hampton has a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a law degree from the UW Law School.