Mitch Mitchell, who has a doctorate in education, is Cal Poly Humboldt’s new Associate Vice President of student success and Dean of Students talks about why he “became who I am to help out my community for those that look like me.” He is constantly looking for opportunities to celebrate, highlight and engage with POC and queer students, “I care about my students at the margin.”
Mitchell was born and raised in Washington, D.C. in what he described as an environment where he felt the odds were against him.
He described how fortunate he was to have had a community of support that “poured into me and helped me navigate this treacherous terrain.” With the push from his parents to go to a university outside of D.C., he left at 17 years-old to Elizabeth City State University, a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in North Carolina.
“You don’t pick the environment you were born in, you learn how to adapt and adjust and overcome hopefully,” Mitchell said.
Before making the move to Humboldt, Mitchell was working at Winston Salem State University in North Carolina as the Assistant Dean of Students & Case Manager.
Mitchell spoke about CPH students needing consistency in administration and that it is important to build relationships and trust. “They want somebody that is invested and dedicated to the community, thats just not lip service, but somebody thats going to be here and is going to pour and add into and stay here.”
Knowing this, he intentionally made the effort to get to Humboldt. He always wanted to come to California and saw “the opportunity to create something new” at CPH by leading with care and concern.
“I want to give back and pour into the community but also this community pours into me,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell explained that the community in Humboldt is different in some ways from other universities he’s worked and places he’s lived. He said “people really care about the community and want to be heard and want to be valued, I think that’s something that resonates with me.”
He expressed his passion to remove barriers and access to opportunities for students by being the one that will “kick down doors and break down barriers so you can be who you are.”
Mitchell understands the importance of listening and advocating for students to build relationships and trust expressing that, “I say what I mean and mean what I say.”
“I’m not about diversity just for numbers I want you to bring your diversity for your experience and for us to champion for you.”