Dr. John E. Williams

Director, Student Affairs and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI), Academic Affairs, Columbia Climate School

Affiliated with: M.S. in Sustainability Management

Affiliated with: M.S. in Sustainability Science


Dr. John E. Williams is an Urban Historian, Geographer, Professor, Journalist, and Higher Education Leader based in Harlem, with foundations rooted deep in the South. He serves as Director of Student Affairs and DEI for the Graduate Programs in Sustainability Management and Sustainability Science.  He is also a faculty member, teaching Geographies of Environmental Justice & Sustainability; and serves as an advisor for the Columbia HBCU Fellowship Program. 

His work spans the higher education spectrum, ranging from historical and geographical research and teaching, to Academic/Student Support Services and administration. He has worked with the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation and the Atlanta Community Mapping and Research Center at Georgia State University (GSU). In 2015, he received GSU's International Education Fellowship and studied abroad at Hong Kong Baptist University in the Transnational Urban Futures research program in Urban Geography.

Dr. Williams serves on the Social & Behavioral Sciences Faculty at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York (CUNY). Previously, he served as an Administration & Planning Fellow in Undergraduate Student Life at Columbia College/Fu Foundation School of Engineering & Applied Science (SEAS); Assistant Professor of History and Geography at Albany State University in Albany, GA; Weather & Climate Lab Instructor at GSU, Instructor of History at Clark Atlanta University, and Student Support Services Coordinator at Florida A&M University (FAMU). His forthcoming book project tentatively titled "Transcending Barriers: Race, Mobility, & Transportation Planning in Atlanta," garnered the Dan Sweat Fellowship Award in Urban Planning, Public Policy, and Economic Development. He received his M.S. in Geosciences (Urban Geography) and Ph.D. in History at Georgia State University; and Masters in History and B.S. in Agribusiness at Florida A&M University. He is also a graduate of the M.A. in Higher & Postsecondary Education (HPSE) program at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Additionally, he is the Columbia Alumni Association (CAA) Fellow in the M.S. in Journalism program at Columbia Journalism School.