Criminal justice reform expert promoted to Vice Provost

Provost Rogan Kersh announced this week that Kami Chavis has been appointed vice provost. Chavis, who currently serves as associate provost of academic affairs, has been appointed to a second three-year term in the provost’s office. Kami Chavis headshotChavis is also a professor of law, having joined the School of Law faculty in 2006, where she continues to direct the criminal justice program. Before joining the provost’s office in 2017, she served as associate dean of research and public engagement.

During Chavis’ time as associate provost, she led a group that reviewed and reorganized online education at Wake Forest University and chaired the Slavery, Race and Memory Project, through which she was instrumental in the University’s co-hosting of this year’s national Universities Studying Slavery conference. Chavis also helped sustain the Title IX Office during a leadership transition and led the successful search for a new director of the renamed and expanded Center for the Advancement of Teaching, which she supervises.

“Professor Chavis has been a dynamic and incisive partner on a wide range of academic initiatives,” said Kersh. “Her ability to encourage collaboration across several of our most complex University matters and achieve widely beneficial outcomes, to sustain essential learning and discovery programs even during a pandemic, and to do all this while serving as a leading national expert on a central policy issue of our time—race and policing—is a testament to her exemplary vision and commitment.”

Chavis remains a much-beloved law faculty member, teaching courses in criminal law and criminal procedure, as well as a signature seminar in policing and prosecution. She is also a frequent contributor to national and international media outlets and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, CTV and NPR. She has written opinion pieces for the New York Times, the Nation, and the Huffington Post, and been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, BBC News, U.S. News, CBS News, International Business Times, Deutsche Welle, and other outlets regarding police accountability and the structural reform of law enforcement agencies.

Before arriving at Wake Forest, Chavis was an assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., and prior to that practiced law at two of Washington’s largest law firms. She received her BA from UNC-Chapel Hill and her J.D. from Harvard University. She is active in civic organizations in Winston-Salem, as well as serving on the Board of Visitors at UNC School of the Arts and Summit School. Chavis is a board member of the prestigious Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.