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UM System announces chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force

University of Missouri System Interim President Michael Middletontodayannounced the appointment of Dr. David Mitchell, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law at the University of Missouri-Columbia, as the chair of the UM System’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. The task force, established as one of eight diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives by the University of Missouri Board of Curators, will be assessing and then making recommendations regarding the current programs, policies and practices of the UM System including potential revisions in university collected rules.

“The university is fortunate to have an individual of Dr. Mitchell’s stature providing leadership to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force,” President Middleton said. “His distinguished record of campus leadership, community involvement and scholarly expertise will serve the UM System well as we address the difficult issues that have so challenged our university.”

“The University of Missouri System, with its four campuses around the state, offers a clear and visible example of the importance and value of diversity, equity and inclusion. It was necessary for the university, consisting of one campus when it was founded, to change in order to properly serve the geographically distinct parts and diverse citizens of Missouri. It accomplished this goal then by expanding the number of campuses” Dr. Mitchell said. “Now, the task force has a unique opportunity to once again respond to challenges the UM System faces to improve the education, research, economic development and service that we provide to the state by addressing the institutionalization of the societal problem of racism as well as other inequalities and inequities. The task force’s work will demonstrate our renewed commitment to embracing the values of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Dr. Mitchell currently serves as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Law at the MU School of Law. In addition to his full teaching load and research and service responsibilities, Dr. Mitchell also currently serves as chair of the Missouri State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights; teaches a course about the law and legal system to at-risk high school students; and has served as a Missouri Supreme Court Faculty Fellow researching ex-offender reentry in Missouri. Prior to joining the faculty at MU in 2006, Dr. Mitchell was a Scholar in Residence in the Department of Sociology at the University of Colorado, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Andre Davis, formerly of the U.S. District Court. He received his doctorate, law and master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, and his bachelor’s degree from Brown University.

Dr. Mitchell received the University of Missouri President’s Award for Community Engagement in 2015. The award recognized, among other accomplishments, his work in facilitating dialogue after the events in Ferguson, Missouri. He is also a past recipient of the Gold Chalk award and Legion of Black Collegians Minority Faculty and Staff Appreciation Award.

The UM System Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force will work with stakeholders across the system’s four campuses and health system to understand the complex issues at hand and develop recommendations and corresponding metrics to address those issues. It is one of eight initiatives announced by the board of curators last month, with the others including:

-Hiring a first-ever Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer for the UM System byFebruary 9; a nationwide search is underway;

-Conducting a full review of all UM System policies as they relate to staff and student conduct, which is currently underway;

-Ensuring that each UM System campus has a Campus Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer that reports directly to the chancellor, which has already been achieved;

-Providing additional support for students, faculty and staff who have experienced discrimination and disparate treatment;

-Providing additional support for the hiring and retention of diverse faculty and staff;

-Establishing campus-based task forces to develop diversity, equity and inclusion strategies, plans and metrics;

-Launching a diversity, equity and inclusion leadership and training and development program, which includes the board of curators, the president and administrative leadership, followed by broader faculty and staff training.

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