Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives

Bates College’s commitment to diversity goes back to its founding in 1855 by abolitionists who believed in freedom and civil rights and who were convinced of the importance of higher education in promoting these ideals. So inspired were they by these principles that from the beginning they opened the institution to women and persons of color though most other leading colleges were single sex and racially exclusive. In keeping with this noble tradition of inclusiveness, Bates is striving to increase the diversity of its student body, faculty, and staff and to provide an environment for social and intellectual engagement that is reflective of the increasingly interconnected, global society in the 21st century. In curriculum and campus life, challenge for the intellect and respect for the person are equally valued.

Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives


The Associate Vice President for Strategic Initiatives reports to the president, serves as a member of the college’s senior leadership team, and works closely with the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of Students, the Dean of Admission, the VP for Advancement, and other senior leaders. The Associate Vice President also oversees the functions of the Office of Equity and Diversity and the Office of Intercultural Education.

The AVP:

  • ensures that Bates’ founding commitment to diversity and inclusion is fully embodied in all aspects of college life;
  • creates institutional vision and strategy supporting the college’s commitment to being a diverse and inclusive learning, teaching, and working environment;
  • implements systems and infrastructure to support, encourage, and promote those strategies and goals;
  • provides opportunities for Bates students, staff, faculty, and alumni to deepen their understanding and knowledge of a diverse array of peoples, ideas, and areas of intellectual inquiry.

In addition to being on the college’s senior leadership team, Crystal A. Williams is a professor of English. The author of four collections of poetry, she has been awarded numerous fellowships and honors, including appointments to the Oregon Arts Commission, the Writer’s Chronicle Editorial board, and as the Mary R. Fields Distinguished Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at DePauw University.