Dennis Mitchell Appointed Senior Associate Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion

August 21, 2014

I am pleased to announce that Dennis Mitchell will take on the role of Senior Associate Provost for Faculty Diversity and Inclusion as of September 1, 2014.  Dennis is currently an Associate Professor and Senior Associate Dean at the College of Dental Medicine.  At Columbia University Medical Center, he is a Dean’s Special Advisor for Community Health Affairs.  In addition to his new position in the Provost’s Office, Dennis will continue in his faculty role and will assume the new role of Senior Associate Dean for Student Development at the College of Dental Medicine.

In his Senior Associate Provost position, Dennis will lead, plan and coordinate Columbia’s ongoing commitment to attracting, advancing and retaining a diverse faculty.  He will also lead the implementation of the program elements of the University’s ongoing financial commitment to enhance the diversity of our faculty and will work with the leaders of each of Columbia’s Schools to evaluate and strengthen their diversity initiatives.  Dennis will chair the Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity that reports to me.  He will collaborate with the Office of Planning and Institutional Research to analyze and disseminate faculty diversity information.

Dennis joined Columbia’s faculty in 1991 after earning his doctorate in dental surgery at Howard University.  His scholarly contributions and portfolio of grants focus on enhancing the diversity of the healthcare labor force and addressing the oral health needs of underserved populations.  Dennis leads the College of Dental Medicine’s diversity programs that target faculty development, training, and the enrollment of underrepresented minority students.  From 2004-2010, he was the Institutional Project Director for the American Dental Education Association Minority Dental Faculty Development Program, a collaboration of five New York State academic dental centers.  He is Co-Principal Investigator on two pipeline development programs that, together, bring over 100 young scholars from underrepresented groups to the CUMC campus each summer.

In 2011, Lee Goldman, Dean of the Faculties of Health Sciences and of Medicine and EVP at CUMC, named Dennis as one of two faculty members to serve as the Dean’s Special Advisors for Community Health Affairs for CUMC.  In this role, Dennis guided deans at the medical center on community health issues, and worked closely with CUMC’s Office of Government and Community Affairs to optimize academic and community partnerships in northern Manhattan.  Dennis has received awards for his leadership and community service from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Association of Medical Minority Educators, and the National Dental Association, among others.  

Dennis has a strong track record of work with Columbia’s university-wide initiatives to enhance faculty diversity.  He is currently a member of the Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity, and previously served on the University’s Diversity Council for Professional Schools from 2006-2010, co-chairing the Council from 2006-2008.  Dennis will serve as a member of the Provost’s cabinet and will report to Andy Davidson, Vice Provost for Academic Planning; he will take over the portion of Andy’s responsibilities relating to faculty and pipeline diversity and inclusion.  Andy will focus on faculty development and climate, academic reviews of Columbia’s schools, and our existing and upcoming University-wide faculty grant programs.  In the coming months, Dennis will review our faculty diversity initiatives and develop a strategic plan for the next stage of our efforts. 

Please join me in welcoming Dennis as our new Senior Associate Provost for Faculty Development and Inclusion. 

John H. Coatsworth