Following an extensive nationwide search, Belmont University announced Dr. Tamika Wordlow Williams, currently the assistant vice president and dean of students for Rhode Island College, is being named dean of students.
In her new position, Williams will serve as Belmont’s chief student life officer and will work in collaboration with Dr. Paula Gill, vice president for institutional effectiveness, to foster and sustain a student-centered living-learning environment. Williams will oversee a division of more than 50 professional staff members representing a variety of student-service areas including Residence Life, Health/Counseling/Support Services, Fitness and Recreation, Multicultural Learning & Experience and Student Activities, among others.
“Dr. Williams’ values align with Belmont’s commitment to the intellectual, spiritual and character development of our students,” said Dr. Paula Gill. “Her goals focus on creating an environment where the development and success of students come first and is key to providing a high-quality student experience that prepares them for life beyond college. I am confident that Dr. Williams will bring great energy to her new role while helping us all further our efforts to Let Hope Abound within our community.”
Williams said what drew her to Belmont were the values of the University and the institution’s commitment to the development of the “whole” student. “Belmont University is invested in every student’s intellectual, spiritual, personal and corporate life by instilling values of integrity, inquiry, collaboration, service and humility. I look forward to working with the talented faculty and staff to provide services and support to new and returning students,” she said. “During my initial campus visit I was able to interact with various faculty, staff and students. It became evident that there is a strong sense of community at Belmont, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve alongside these professionals and contribute to institutional initiatives.”
Williams received a B.A. in political science from Fisk University, a Master of Public Administration in Non-profit Management from the University of Arkansas, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from East Carolina University. She has an extensive background in student life including supervision in residence life and housing, student conduct, counseling, health services, student activities and Greek life. Throughout her career, she has gained experience in managing and responding to critical incidents and crisis situations as well as working with students of concern.
In her current role at Rhode Island College, Williams oversees all areas of student life including Chaplain Services, Unity Center, Greek Life, Student Activities, Residential Life, Health & Wellness, Student Conduct and the Military Resource Center, among other responsibilities. Through joint efforts with senior leadership and staff in Student Affairs, she joined her team in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by navigating priorities for health and wellness as well as providing events and engagement for students while maintaining high morale among staff and students. With senior administration support, she created the inaugural assistant director of veterans’ affairs position to support the needs of student veterans and military-connected students, and she partnered with the counseling center to secure a third-party agency, ProtoCall, to support student mental health concerns during non-traditional business hours, among other accomplishments.
Prior to her work at Rhode Island College, Williams worked as the associate dean of students as well as the director in the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities at East Carolina University. She gained extensive experience addressing student conduct and concerns, including adjudicating cases with Title IX implications. She learned to foster student growth by promoting student awareness and understanding of their rights and responsibilities as community members.
Williams is dedicated to inclusive excellence in higher education and centers her work on the development and mentorship of students. Her areas of interest include women’s leadership, student conduct, hazing, student wellness and mental health. Most recently, Williams co-presented on the impact of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within higher education at the 2021 annual National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) and serves as an advisor for the “Dear Black Student, First Fridays” program.
Williams will join the Belmont community in late July. She hopes to continue the great work that has been done as well as focus on the enhancement of services and programs to build stronger community for Belmont students.