R. Sanders Williams Named Senior Advisor for International Strategy

September 04, 2008

Originally posted on Duke News site (


DURHAM, NC—R. Sanders Williams, senior vice chancellor of Duke Medicine and one of the principal architects of the medical center’s global expansion in recent years, will take on the additional role of senior advisor for international strategy for the university, President Richard H. Brodhead announced Friday.

In this new position, Williams will serve as Duke’s chief advisor for university initiatives outside the United States, and will be a counselor to Brodhead and Provost Peter Lange in addition to his principal role as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs for Duke Medicine. Williams’ appointment as senior advisor is effective immediately.

“Duke has expanded its international reach dramatically in the last decade,” Brodhead said. “Building on this base, we now seek to create partnerships to share the benefits of Duke’s teaching and research around the world. There is no one more knowledgeable about Duke’s opportunities than Sandy, and he will be a critically important advisor as we identify and assess the choices that will best advance us toward this goal.”

Added Lange, the university’s chief academic officer: “Sandy Williams is uniquely qualified for this vital new position. His relationship with the deans and academic leadership helped forge Duke’s strong culture of cross-disciplinary collaboration, including the Duke Global Health Institute. He knows Duke and will be an effective advocate for our commitment to putting knowledge in the service of society on an international scale.”

Williams was named senior vice chancellor for academic affairs in 2007. He previously served as dean of the School of Medicine and founding dean of the graduate medical school in Singapore, Duke’s most complex and wide-ranging international venture to date. A graduate of the Duke University Medical School, Williams first joined the faculty in 1980 and has held both clinical and administrative positions in medicine and cardiology.

“Duke’s global ambitions are reflected in every part of our campus, from teaching to research to public service,” said Williams. “I look forward to working with President Brodhead, Provost Lange, our deans and faculty to advise the university in what will be a major, and significant, transformation of our mission.”

Victor J. Dzau, MD, chancellor for health affairs and president and chief executive officer of Duke University Health System, said, “We are fortunate at Duke Medicine to have an executive as energetic and visionary as Sandy Williams. Through Sandy, Duke Medicine welcomes the opportunity to coordinate with the university in international initiatives.”

Duke’s most recent strategic plan, adopted in 2006, identified internationalization as one of the most critical priorities. Building on the university’s long history of engagement with the world, Duke has since then launched a number of academic initiatives designed to connect with the world, including:

—Increasing the number of undergraduate international students from one percent in 1993 to 10 percent in 2008, and graduate students from 20 percent to 38 percent in the same time period;

—Creating new need-based financial aid opportunities for students from outside the United States as a result of the $300 million Financial Aid Initiative;

—Increasing the proportion of students participating in study abroad to more than 45 percent, one of the highest rates in the country;

—Establishing DukeEngage, a civic engagement and service learning program that provides opportunities for hundreds of Duke students to do projects in other countries;

—Expanding the path-breaking Global Executive MBA program, which led the way among business schools in the mid-1990s;

—Increasing enrollment in the international LLM program in the Law School;

—Enhancing the Duke Center for International Development, which long trained international civil servants in Durham through its Program in International Development Policy and now trains large numbers of public administrators from India, China and numerous other countries both in their own countries and here at Duke;

—Developing Duke Corporate Education, rated for six years in a row as the No. 1 tailored corporate education company in the world. It now has a presence in the U.S., Europe, India, and soon the Middle East and Asia;

—Sustaining six federally funded Title VI area studies centers, the largest number of any private university in the country.

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