Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer welcomed to campus

Category:  News
Thursday, January 24th, 2019 at 10:50 AM

On Tuesday, Jan. 7, Terrence Mitchell started in his new position as Edinboro University’s Diversity and Inclusion Officer. 

According to a press release from Edinboro University, the position was announced in December by Interim University President Dr. Michael Hannan. The new title replaced “director of social equity.” As Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Mitchell is responsible for working within the campus community, specifically within underrepresented students, to improve achievement gaps in retention and graduation rates. 

Mitchell has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in education, both from the University of Central Oklahoma. “I started as a business student, but that did not connect for me. Some very practical friends ...were in journalism programs, and they thought I should try it. I loved it and stuck with it until graduation,” Mitchell said. 

He is currently attending Indiana University of Pennsylvania, working on his doctoral degree in administration and leadership studies. Mitchell is defending his dissertation in August and looks to graduate at the end of the 2019 fall term. 

Despite having started out his higher education journey within journalism, Mitchell found his communication skills would be a good skill set for working within the communities he lived in. 

“I graduated in the ‘80s and there was a recession, which limited the number of opportunities for print journalists in Oklahoma...The field became highly technological, so I found my skills to be dated though I had just graduated. I was advised to look for work that complemented the communication skills I had developed in school,” Mitchell said. 

Before coming to Edinboro University, Mitchell worked at Allegheny College in several positions — director of diversity affairs, associate dean of students, and assistant to the president for institutional diversity. Mitchell as worked at SUNY Oneonta, where he was a two-time recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. 

Michell is also the founder of a non-profit college readiness program, CREED. While the program focuses on prepping high school students to pursue higher education, it also lends a hand to undergraduate students when it can. “We have helped over 600 students through individual and group consultation. We offer independent education counseling to rural [students], students of color and students with high need,” Mitchell said. 

He believes that his years of experience can play a helpful role at Edinboro University. “I hope to be of use. I have over 25 years of experience in a variety of roles in higher education, and I am tried and tested as a chief diversity officer. I hope to help people have meaningful conversations and build substantive plan that will help us meet our current goals and ready us for the future.” 

Students can find their new diversity and inclusion officer on the third floor of Reeder Hall. Mitchell looks forward to students reaching out to him to build a better community on campus. 

“Please come see me, share your experiences with me, question me, and hold me accountable. With your support, I can be sure to build a diversity effort that is reflective of the aspirations of the entire campus community.” 

Anisa Venner-Johnston | edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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