The senior vice president and chief education officer of the Boys and Girls Club of America is set to speak this Thursday, March 26, on diversity and inclusion at Western Michigan University.

Damon Williams, Ph. D, will hold a public lecture entitled “Strategic Diversity at WMU: Building Capacity for Inclusive Excellence.” The talk runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in 157-159 Bernhard Center.

“Dr. Williams is passionate about partnering with organizations to set inclusive excellence as a target and a standard,” said Dr. Evelyn Winfield-Thomas, executive director for the Office of Institutional Equity at WMU.

Dr. Winfield-Thomas, the member of the Campus Climate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leadership Team (CCDEI TAC) who invited Williams to speak, said Williams was selected “for his work and accomplishments, contributions, and national recognition and credibility in the areas of strategic diversity leadership and organizational systemic change.”

With a doctor of philosophy in Organizational Behavior and Strategic Management from the University of Michigan, Williams has authored many books and articles on equity and inclusion in higher education. He has also served in executive administrator positions at other universities, including University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Dr. Williams, who Winfield-Thomas noted asked for the opportunity to speak with students, will also hold breakout sessions by invitation. Refreshments are to be provided at all events, and copies of one or two of his books will be given away.

“Students will help participate in the learning and advancement for the institution,” Dr. Winfield-Thomas said. “The student body voice, perspective, energy and passion needs to be a part of the ‘thought partner conversations’ we have planned for Dr. William’s visit.”

According to Winfield-Thomas, the CCDEI TAC sought “insights, expertise and guidance” in implementing recommendations from the 2013 campus climate study and subsequent 2014 action forums. She believes that student involvement is important “to create a diverse, equitable and inclusive learning and work environment beneficial for all members of our campus community, not just some of them.”

“In my view, this an opportunity that you will not want to miss,” said Winfield-Thomas.

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