Professional News

UK's Damon Williams chosen for Academic Leadership Institute Residential Program

Photo of Damon Williams.
Damon Williams, UK associate vice president for institutional diversity. Arden Barnes | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 18, 2023) ­— Damon Williams, associate vice president for institutional diversity at the University of Kentucky, was selected for the 2023 Academic Leadership Institute (ALI) Residential Program, which was held July 30-Aug. 3, 2023, in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, on the campus of Swarthmore College.

The ALI is the first major professional development initiative of its kind to have an explicit focus on inclusion and the first to equip leaders with strategies and techniques to change their institutions. While most programs for higher education leadership focus on the skills required of a leader, the ALI offers an opportunity to personalize a path forward toward current professional success and future growth and promotion.  

“The Academic Leadership Institute was created by two internationally-recognized higher education leaders, Earl Lewis, Ph.D., former CEO of the Mellon Foundation, and Dwight McBride, Ph.D., former president of the New School. I aspire to use my leadership philosophies of collaboration, operational excellence and equity-mindedness to lead UK’s purposeful 'one community' efforts. My participation in ALI offered me the opportunity to have firsthand exposure to and unvarnished interactions with college presidents and provosts of color who lead effectively at some of the nation’s most highly regarded intuitions.”

Each day’s curriculum was organized around identity as it relates to the various streams of university business: the sense of self as a leader — in relation to institutional frameworks, in relation to the team and in relation to the community and the public. In addition, the nature and size of the program allows its scope to be tailored to the expectations of its participants, providing a personalized five-day course guided by successful collegiate heads.

Williams, who earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Xavier University, a master's in marketing from Tulane University, a Master of Business Administration from Fontbonne University, and is currently a doctoral student studying higher education administration, was nominated to attend the conference by Katrice A. Albert, UK vice president for institutional diversity. 

“I was thrilled that Damon was selected to represent the University of Kentucky in one the most decorated cohort of leaders in similar and advanced roles at our peer and aspirational institutions,” Albert said. “The Academic Leadership Program is a nationally recognized, highly regarded and highly sought after residential leadership experience for ascending higher education leaders.

“I am certain that the experiences at ALI grew his leadership competencies and will also positively benefit all of us in the Commonwealth,” Albert continued. “Damon’s skills, knowledge and dedication to 'pressing forward and fearing nothing' promotes what is wildly possible in our community.”

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.