University of Wisconsin–Madison

Office of the Vice Provost & Chief Diversity Officer

Patrick J. Sims, Vice Provost for Diversity & Climate and Chief Diversity Officer

Patrick J. Sims, vice provost for diversity and climate
Vice Provost for Diversity & Climate and Chief Diversity Officer

Patrick J. Sims was permanently appointed Vice Provost and Chief Diversity Officer at University of Wisconsin-Madison in May 2015, having served as interim vice provost and chief diversity officer since 2013.

Sims joined the UW–Madison faculty in 2004 and is a full professor in the Department of Theatre & Drama. He developed the Theatre for Cultural and Social Awareness (TCSA) interactive theatre-based training model that dramatizes sensitive subject matters for universities, corporate and non-profit organizations. Sims is a founding member and artistic director of the Human Experience Theatre (HET) at UW-Milwaukee, has served as summer faculty at the School for Asia–Karuizawa in Japan and as faculty director of UW–Madison’s “The Studio” Creative Arts and Design residential learning community.

In addition to oversight for institution-wide diversity, Sims leads the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement, which encompasses the University’s major diversity scholarship and service programs.  These programs, like the Chancellor’s Scholar Program which is more than 30 years old, represent the University’s historic and innovative initiatives to recruit, retain and graduate a diverse student body.  His teams are responsible for guiding and supporting the work of the Office of the Provost on matters related to diversity of students, staff, faculty, as well as classroom, workplace, and general campus climate.

A first-generation college student himself, Sims understands the realities faced by students who inhabit multiple identities, particularly when issues of race, gender, class, culture and sexual identity collide.

Sherri A. Charleston, Assistant Vice Provost in the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement

Sherri A. Charleston, Assistant Vice Provost in the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement
Sherri A. Charleston, Assistant Vice Provost

Sherri A. Charleston has extensive experience in the world of advising in her role as Director of Pre-Health and Pre-Law Advising Services on campus with the Office of Undergraduate Advising. She served as a former Posse mentor while a graduate student in the Wisconsin Law School. As an affiliate instructor for Gender & Women’s Studies, Sherri uses her formal training as a historian and legal scholar teaching classes both at Edgewood College and UW-Madison. She also has worked with the Elections Division of the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board.

Charleston holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, a doctorate degree in history from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and a Jurisprudence Doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Cheryl Gittens, Assistant Vice Provost in the Division of  Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement

Cheryl Gittens headshot
Cheryl Gittens, Assistant Vice Provost

Cheryl Gittens is an experienced academic and student affairs administrator who has successfully planned, implemented and managed programs and services designed to increase high school graduation, college enrollment and retention at the undergraduate and graduate levels. She received her Doctorate of Education at the George Washington University and her Master of Social Work at Rutgers University.

Most recently, Gittens was the Vice President of Education and Chief Academic Officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. Prior to that she was Director of Student Affairs and Community Service Learning at the University of Virginia. She joins DDEEA as an Assistant Vice Provost.



Gloria Hawkins, Assistant Vice Provost in the Division of Equity, Diversity & Educational Achievement and Director of the Chancellor’s & Powers-Knapp Scholars Program

Hawkins_Gloria_ head shot
Gloria Hawkins, Assistant Vice Provost. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)

Gloria Hawkins, Assistant Vice Provost in the Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement, was appointed Directors of the Chancellor’s and Powers-Knapp Scholar Programs in 2013.

Formerly the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Affairs in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health since 1994,  Dr. Hawkins continues to build on more than 20 years of advising and recruiting students at UW-Madison with “dignity, respect, and love.” In service to her programs and the entire division, she is a specialist in pinpointing the key contributing factors that have led to a scholarship programs’ success and building upon that existing legacy. She also explores strategic ways to expand the pool of talented and highly-motivated high school students as well as the use of social media to market programs and connect with alumni and constituent groups.

Hawkins received her doctorate in educational administration from UW-Madison, her master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Atlanta University, and her bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Michigan State University.


Leading Diversity Initiatives and Services that Impact the Entire Campus Community

The Division of Diversity, Equity and Educational Achievement aims to addresses the university’s strategic diversity interests by enhancing strategic impact, collaborative possibilities and equitable educational outcomes on local, national, and global levels. Component units include the Chancellor’s and Powers Knapp Scholars, Center for Educational Opportunity, LCICE, the Office for Equity and Diversity, the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives/First Wave, Pathways, PEOPLE and Posse.

The division works to make progress toward increasing access for all qualified students, especially for underrepresented minorities and women in the STEM areas; eliminating the achievement gap between majority and underrepresented students; recruiting and retaining a more diverse faculty and staff; preparing all students, staff and faculty to thrive personally and professionally in a diverse, global, interconnected world; and enhancing the campus climate for inclusion.