DSAS welcomes Ebonée Williams as new associate vice chancellor for student success and equity

Ebonee Williams photo

Ebonée Williams has officially joined the Division of Student Affairs and Success as the new associate vice chancellor for student success and equity. Hired following a national search that spanned fall and winter quarters, Ebonée will report to the vice chancellor for student affairs and success. She will serve as a key member of the division’s cabinet and leadership teams and will advise the vice chancellor and campus leadership on matters of student success, equity, retention, climate, and belonging. 

The associate vice chancellor for student success and equity plays an essential role in student success program implementation, and Ebonée will work to align a substantial portfolio of academic and non-academic programs and initiatives to help achieve key campus goals. Ebonée’s experience as an engineer, lecturer, and student affairs professional will be instrumental to developing campus partnerships in support of student success, particularly as it relates to retention of underrepresented students. Called upon to lead multi-divisional, multi-functional, teams, Ebonée will partner with faculty and student affairs practitioners in our shared pursuit: success and equity for all students. 

Ebonée brings unique skill sets and perspectives to the campus and both have made her a transformational leader. A first-generation college student, she earned a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Washington, a master of science in industrial business management from the Lille Business School, and a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Brown University. In 2015, she earned a professional performance coaching certificate. Last year, she completed the UC Executive Leadership Academy. 

Already familiar with the UC system, Ebonée comes to UC Santa Cruz from UC San Diego. There she held a number of roles, including director of the Gordon Engineering Leadership Center (2009-2019) and interim assistant vice chancellor of student retention and success (2019-2020). Most recently, Ebonée served on the student affairs leadership team as the director of virtual experience and peer engagement initiatives. She did most of this while teaching in multiple engineering departments as part of a lecturer appointment (2006-2020). 

“We are so excited to bring Ebonée to the campus in the role of associate vice chancellor for student success and equity,” shared Jody Green, co-chair of the search committee and special advisor to the campus provost and executive vice chancellor for educational equity and academic success. “Her presence in this critical role will allow us to develop a comprehensive strategic vision that coordinates the efforts of staff and faculty in support of student success and educational equity. Ebonée’s deep and varied experience at UC San Diego ranges from classroom instruction to leadership development to retention and student engagement. I’m greatly looking forward to collaborating with and learning from Ebonée in her new role.” 

Ebonée attributes her creative, intentional, and effective leadership as a student affairs professional to the system and design thinking skills she gained as a chemical engineer. Similarly, as with engineering, she believes co-curricular experiential learning is essential to student success. She aspires to cultivate learning environments that ensure students develop a deeper understanding of themselves and a greater resolve to navigate the world around them. With this goal in mind, Ebonée is particularly excited to support and elevate the work of those reporting to her. Student-centered and results-oriented, she is committed to working across disciplines to create opportunities, bolster support, and improve retention for underrepresented students. 

Akirah Bradley-Armstrong, the new vice chancellor for student affairs and success, shared her enthusiasm for all Ebonée will bring to UC Santa Cruz, “I am looking forward to Ebonée’s leadership and partnering with her to uplift and center student success and equity. Ebonée’s talents in bringing people together and cultivating spaces that create community and sense of belonging for students will make a significant impact for students.”