VCU Names Founding Chief Diversity Officer
University Public Affairs
Virginia Commonwealth University today announced the appointment of Wanda S. Mitchell, Ed.D., to be the university’s founding vice president for diversity and equity, effective on Sept. 1.
Mitchell’s unit will focus on strengthening VCU’s climate of equity, diversity and inclusiveness and is responsible for implementing the university’s five-year diversity plan and all initiatives sponsored by VCU to sponsor diversity. The office also will serve as a central resource for programs and services, and it will house key compliance and advocacy functions, including Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Americans with Disabilities Act services.
“Diversity is a hallmark of VCU, but, more than that, it is a core value,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “Diversity adds so much to the educational process because we learn best from people who have different ideas and who come from varied backgrounds. When you see premier national universities, you see universities that are rich in diversity, and VCU is already among the most diverse universities in the nation. Wanda Mitchell is at the forefront of the national conversation on diversity in education, and we are excited to welcome her to VCU.”
As the chief diversity officer of the University of New Hampshire, Mitchell leads the campus and external community on issues of institutional diversity, inclusion and equity and administers the faculty mentoring and professional development program. Mitchell, vice provost for faculty development and inclusive excellence at New Hampshire, has research and teaching interests in the areas of counseling diverse populations, educational psychology, inclusive excellence and diversity in higher education, women’s leadership development and career development for women.
Mitchell is a sought-after speaker and regularly presents on topics of recruitment and retention, diversity and educational equity and women’s leadership development. She has published in higher education journals and served as a reviewer for governmental grants and institutional accreditation processes.
Mitchell’s expertise has been recognized through her work with many prestigious organizations, including the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. She is particularly proud to be a graduate of VCU’s 2001 inaugural class of the Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute for Women in Higher Education and Faith-Based Organizations, among many other honors, awards and professional affiliations.
“I am excited to be appointed as VCU’s founding vice president for diversity and equity,” Mitchell said. “It was clear to me that the campus community and I share the belief that excellence cannot be fully achieved in the absence of diverse perspectives, cultures, experiences and people.
“For that reason, I am looking forward to working with President Rao, members of the university and the local community to actualize VCU’s ‘Quest for Distinction’ that focuses on ensuring a climate of trust, honesty and integrity where all people are valued and differences are recognized as an asset.”
Mitchell received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgia Southern University and a master’s degree in counseling from Hampton University. She received her educational specialist and doctor of education degrees in counseling from the College of William and Mary. Mitchell joined the faculty of the University of New Hampshire in 2002, after having served on the faculty and staff at Hampton University.
- About VCU and the VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 223 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.