The Eastern Iowa Community College District (EICCD) Board of Trustees today appointed Dr. Sonya Williams as the district’s next chancellor.

Dr. Sonya Williams was named new chancellor of the Eastern Iowa Community College District.

Dr. Williams currently serves as Vice President of Education and Chief Academic Officer at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Ill., where she oversees all instructional operations, according to a Thursday release. She will begin her duties on Aug. 8, 2022, replacing Dr. Don Doucette, who is retiring.

Eastern Iowa Community Colleges District Chancellor Don Doucette is retiring July 1, 2022, after 11 years in the job.

The appointment follows after an extensive national search.

“Although we’ve encountered a few bumps in the road along the way, we are very happy to be here today, ready to introduce an outstanding community college leader who we are confident can lead our colleges into the future with vision, intelligence and heart,” EICCD Board of Trustees President Robert Gallagher said in the release.

“With a proven commitment to student success and more than 25 years of progressive leadership roles in higher education, we believe she is especially suited to lead Eastern Iowa Community Colleges,” he said. “We are excited to have Dr. Williams agree to join us here at THE Community’s College and look forward to facing the challenges of the future with her at the helm.”

As chancellor, Williams will oversee the operations of the entire EICCD — including Clinton, Muscatine and Scott Community Colleges. The colleges also deliver services through satellite sites in Maquoketa, Wilton and various locations in Davenport, as well as many area high schools.

The College of Lake County is a community college system north of Chicago, near the Wisconsin border.

The College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college system including three campuses and more than 15,000 students. As Vice President of Education and Chief Academic Officer, Williams’ responsibilities include leadership of the college’s academic departments.

Her major accomplishments at College of Lake County include successfully managing a budget of well over $50 million, creating a visionary plan for program and product expansion to enhance CTE and transfer offerings, collaborating and supporting the college’s Achieving the Dream teaching and learning excellence initiatives, promoting diversity and inclusion practices, developing a culture of inquiry and evidence in decision-making, and fostering strong shared governance practices.

Speaking of values

In accepting the appointment, Williams spoke of the district’s core values and dedication to being an engaged, inspired and committed community, in addition to encouraging an innovative, collaborative culture.

EICCD is the district encompassing Scott, Clinton and Muscatine community colleges.

“My goals for education, my professional and personal values, and my commitment to advance the mission of community colleges aligns with those shared by EICCD,” she said.

“We will stand firm in our commitment to students and stakeholders by strengthening our stance to cultivate an encouraging, innovative and collaborative culture. As Chancellor, I am excited for the opportunity to model the way and join a statewide system that provides life-changing opportunities to the communities we serve. Thank you for supporting me in this endeavor, I look forward to working with all of you.”

Previously, Williams served in various leadership, teaching and research roles for Joliet Junior College, Joliet, Ill.; Oklahoma City Community College, Oklahoma City, Okla.; Langston University, Langston, Okla.; and Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn. A captain in the U.S. Air Force, she also served as section commander and information management officer.

A native of Norman, Okla., Williams graduated from the University of Oklahoma, where she earned a B.S. in zoology and a Ph.D. in anatomical sciences and cell biology/neurosciences.

Her postdoctoral training includes three years at the Yale School of Medicine, where she studied neurobiology, reproduction and immunology. She has been married for 30 years and has two daughters, two sons, and three grandsons.