Dear Williston Faculty and Staff,
I want to share the exciting news that Nikki Chambers will be joining Williston as our new Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB), beginning on July 1, 2021. Following a national search process that garnered a talented pool of candidates, Williston’s hiring committee felt that Nikki brought the skills, experience, and vision to fill this new and historic leadership role, a position that will be a key element of our Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. We will be sharing this news more widely with students, parents, and alumni in the coming days.
Nikki comes to Williston with more than a decade of experience in higher education and enrollment management, serving most recently as the associate director of admission and coordinator of multicultural recruitment at Smith College, where she led all admission equity and inclusion initiatives. In this role, she oversaw community-based organization (CBO) engagement, programs for CBO leaders and prospective students of color. She also created the Smith Multicultural Admission Advisory Committee and acted as the liaison for the Smith Posse program, which recruits and supports diverse student groups throughout their college careers.
Before joining Smith, Nikki worked in the Office of Admissions at Barnard College of Columbia University for six years. While there, she served as the admission liaison for the Higher Education Opportunity Program, Barnard Opportunity Program, and the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program. She also served as the admissions representative for more than two dozen states across the country, as well as British Columbia. She has been the sister co-chair of the Association of Black Admissions and Financial Aid Officers of the Ivy-League and Sister Schools, a nationally recognized organization of more than 300 higher education professionals committed to access, equity, and inclusion for students at the undergraduate level and beyond. Nikki earned a Master of Arts in higher and postsecondary education from Teachers College, Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College, where she majored in history with a minor in African-American studies. She currently resides in Northampton, Massachusetts, with her plants.
In this new role at Williston, Nikki will manage and coordinate collaborative DEIB strategic initiatives across campus, partnering with students, faculty, administrative leaders, and trustees to shape and guide the school’s sustained efforts to build a culture of inclusion and belonging on campus.
We are excited to welcome Nikki in this new position, however I would be remiss if I did not take this moment to celebrate the tremendous work, passion, and dedication that Erin Davey has brought as our Director of Inclusion for the past 5 years, and Rachel Gordon as the Assistant Director of Inclusion for the past year. Erin has pioneered many of the programs and groups that now form the backbone of our DEI initiatives, including Why Not Speak Day, Williston Speaks, affinity groups, and many more. Her support and advocacy for students of all racial and ethnic identities, religions, and sexual orientations and gender identities has been exemplary, and she has pushed the school to do more and better. In the last year, Rachel has joined Erin ably in this work—supporting students, advocating for change, and creating DEI programming and anti-racist training. Both are members of the Anti-Racist Committee that is in the midst of drafting our Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
As we finalize our staffing once Nikki begins working here, I’m certain that Erin and Rachel—and all of us—will have a role in continuing to make Williston a place where all students feel a deep sense of belonging. But for now, I thank them both for their passion and dedication.