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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

First finalist for vice provost for diversity visits campus

The first of three finalists for the position of UW-Madison Vice Provost of diversity and climate visited campus Monday night and discussed his role as a leader on diversity issues.  


The role of vice provost would include working with other campus leaders to further recruitment and retention of minorities at the university and encourage an overall positive learning atmosphere. 


Damon Williams is currently the vice provost of Multicultural and International Affairs at the University of Connecticut-Storrs. He said he has a passion for fostering diversity and that UW-Madison is a campus bursting with opportunities. 


For me, it's about looking at new opportunities and new challenges,"" Williams said. ""There's a lot of great stuff going on here with respect to diversity issues, and I am committed to really trying to do my best to impact the institution and elevate diversity."" 

Experiencing and accepting diversity is crucial not only for students, but for professionals as well, he said.  


If hired, Williams said his first goal would be to thoroughly wrap his hands around diversity issues on campus. 


""A major theme will be learning, relating to people, getting a sense of what initiatives are going on,"" explained Williams. ""I'm not looking to replicate the same things we've done."" 

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Diversity numbers at UW-Madison have been stagnant the past several years, he said, so his focus would be keeping retention and enrollment high among minorities.  


Williams said listening to the voices of the students, implementing and monitoring initiatives to address such issues and providing students with resources they need are all significant. 


""I want to be able to do my job, that's it,"" he said. ""I want to be able to wake up with integrity in the morning and come to work and feel like I can do the types of things the institution is charging me to do.

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