The University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement (DDEEA) recently announced that Derrick L. Smith has joined its management team as senior co-director of External Relations, Partnerships, and Development. Smith will share duties with Tracy Williams for the coming year, while Williams assists in the development of the university’s Supplier Diversity Program for the Division of Business Services with the associate vice chancellor of finance.

Williams’ new role as director of Supplier Diversity Program is an inaugural role of UW-Madison and has a strong day-to-day functional engagement with the director of purchasing services. This position is responsible for creating and implementing strategies to build relationships with key stakeholders including local diverse firms, non-profit advocacy groups, state government, and the campus community in support of an institutional priority to increase the amount of business the university transacts with diverse companies in Wisconsin.

Transitioning from the role of director of development with the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID), Smith’s addition will enhance the DDEEA’s campus and community wide presence and role in diversity, equity and inclusion work, said Interim Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Diversity Officer Cheryl B. Gittens. This includes Williams’ work to align with and support our institutional commitment to equity and inclusion in our staffing, purchasing, and external relationships, she added.

“This expansion of our team is key to expanding our DEI into the operational and investment DEI priorities,” Gittens said. “Shared business goals and partnerships are an integral component in realizing the full range of tangible equity and inclusion goals by making diverse recruitment, contracting and supply options possible.” 

Smith has an extensive professional background as a scientist, strategist, administrator in multiple sectors. While at WID, he managed the fundraising, strategic planning, donor relations, and stewardship of major gifts. Further, he previously led strategic planning and special projects at Catholic Charities and scientific sales and marketing for Thermo Fisher Scientific.

An Army brat, he was born in Cleveland, and raised in Long Beach, California. He developed an early commitment to education as he saw his community produce young people who didn’t see college as an option. He went to the U.S. Air Force Academy and pursued his life-long interest in science.

Smith also served as the immediate past chairman of the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Greater Madison. He is also one of the chapter founders of the 100 Black Men of Madison, Inc., and past president of the Madison Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Additionally, he serves on the Agrace Hospice and Madison Symphony Orchestra boards.

Both Smith’s and Williams’ roles are essential to promoting the DDEEA’s thought leadership in local and national conversations around issues of DEI in higher education, Gittens said. Additionally, these roles assist divisional leadership, scholarship programs, academic support services and, division units with garnering and leveraging resources to accomplish our strategic goals and priorities. Both will help DDEEA to identify and strengthen critical relationships in the local community, manage the reporting of donor-sponsored programs and efforts (High Impact Practices, Scholarship Programs, LINE, Multicultural Homecoming Initiatives, GVBACK App, and special projects and sponsorships with Community Relations).