Deborah S. Willis is a passionate, enthusiastic administrator, educator, and certified executive leadership coach. As an Assistant Vice Provost she works with the leadership team to develop strategy and tactics that lead to institutional transformation around diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice issues.
Her role focuses on the student experience and she works closely with numerous student-focused units including Student Life and Rackham Graduate School. Prior to joining ODEI, she was an Assistant Director for Professional Development and Engagement at Rackham Graduate School and led the Rackham Professional Development DEI Certificate, a program she designed to prepare participants to work in a diverse environment while fostering a climate of inclusivity.
Throughout her professional career, Dr. Willis has provided vision and advocacy in the areas of diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice and leadership development. Her engaging style of collaboration and coaching encourages progressive, actionable and tangible growth for the people she serves. She is committed to creating initiatives that support an inclusive community and promote institutional change. When she is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two adult children, enjoying nature, walking, and listening to music. Dr. Willis holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan and is a proud wolverine.