Meet Kristie Ford, the first associate provost of DEI for W&L

Ford is dedicated to bringing her “vision of social change” to campus to promote diversity and equity.


Ford stood out for the position because of her experience in “building new things,” Provost Lena Hill said. Photo courtesy of The Columns.

Jess Kishbaugh

Kristie Ford, current professor of sociology at Skidmore College, will be the first Associate Provost of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) at Washington and Lee University, starting on Jan. 1, 2022.

The brand-new position will focus on the academic side of diversity, equity and inclusion, including recruitment, curriculum, dialogue and a variety of other roles.

Ford will also be co-chairing the University Committee on Inclusiveness and Campus Climate.

The position “represents a wonderful opportunity to make a significant impact on a community poised for and committed to lasting change,” Ford wrote in an email.

The process of finding the right person to fill this new position wasn’t easy. It required a seven-person committee and a search firm. 

But Ford fit the bill in more ways than one, Provost Lena Hill said.

“She stood out because she built things. 

And this is an inaugural position, so it was really impressive to me that she’d been building new things,” Hill said. 

Ford co-founded the Black Faculty and Staff Group and developed the Intergroup Relations Minor at Skidmore College, which is in New York. Both programs continue to impact Skidmore’s community today.

Ford has also consulted with institutions across the country, from the Girl Scouts of America to  Harvard University, and done research on the experiences of marginalized groups in higher education.

Not only does Ford have the experience on paper, but she has deep personal dedication for DEI  work “with or without a title,” Hill said, as well as passion for the field.

“As a Black woman with a range of intersecting privileged and marginalized social identities,  my passion for DEI-related work is rooted in my personal lived experiences as well  as  my  professional training and expertise. Both help inform my vision for social change,” Ford wrote.

Ford said she is eager to bring this vision for social change to the Washington and Lee community  next  semester  in  a  time  of  so much institutional turmoil.

“I am excited to apply my knowledge and skills in this new way, at an institution that is actively engaged in these critical conversations, focused not only on building a more diverse  community,  but also on building a more just and equitable one,” she wrote.

Ford will be moving to Lexington in July 2022. In addition to being a part of the Washington and Lee campus community, she said she is also eager to be closer to family, including a twin brother, along the southeast coast of the United States.

Washington and Lee is also excited for her to come, Hill said.

“She is just so passionate and dedicated to this work,”  Hill said. “I think that that passion paired with her commitment to students, faculty and staff is going to make her very successful.”