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Patrick Sims named vice provost and chief diversity officer

May 6, 2015 By Susannah Brooks

Photo: Patrick J. Sims

Patrick J. Sims, UW–Madison’s vice provost and chief diversity officer, speaks to attendees at a faculty of color reception in February.


Patrick J. Sims, interim vice provost and chief diversity officer at the University of Wisconsin–Madison since 2013, has been named to the role on a permanent basis.

“Patrick has demonstrated outstanding leadership in a critical role and we’re pleased that he will continue to do so,” says Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf. “As we look to the next five years, our commitment to inclusivity in all areas of campus life is an important component of the university’s Strategic Framework. Patrick will continue to serve as a guiding voice as we take the next steps toward the university’s future.”

A 15-member committee made up of faculty, staff and students and chaired by Brian Yandell, a professor of statistics and horticulture, screened a pool of applicants and recommended the three finalists to the provost.

During the selection process, the candidates met with members of the campus community in public forums and presentations, including events specifically designated as student discussions.

“I look forward to continuing to build new relationships throughout the campus community, as well as strengthening the connections we’ve already made.”

Patrick J. Sims

“I am grateful for the opportunity to lead these efforts, and for the privilege of being able to continue the work that we have begun,” says Sims. “I look forward to continuing to build new relationships throughout the campus community, as well as strengthening the connections we’ve already made.”

Sims has served as the interim vice provost and chief diversity officer for UW–Madison since 2013. He is a professor of theatre and founding director of the Theatre for Cultural and Social Awareness at UW–Madison. He has a Master of Fine Arts in theatre from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and bachelor’s degrees in psychology and theatre studies from Yale University.

The Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement supports the mission of UW–Madison as it works to create a diverse, inclusive and excellent learning and work environment for all students, faculty, staff, alumni and others who partner with the university. This is accomplished through collaboration, leadership and seeding of new initiatives, consultative advice, and the coordination of numerous institutional initiatives, while supervising the key diversity units that comprise the division.

While the vice provost for diversity leads a number of institutional initiatives, the position also provides leadership, coordination and support for the many efforts underway in schools, colleges and other administrative units across the campus.

Principal duties include serving as a member of the provost’s senior leadership team; providing guidance and recommendations to the chancellor, provost and other campus and UW System leadership in matters of diversity, equity and inclusion; overseeing implementation of UW–Madison’s new Diversity Framework and working with campus units to create and maintain robust pathways for diverse and underrepresented populations; and ensuring that students experience the support and welcoming climate necessary for their success.