DJ Mitchell departing Bellarmine for new diversity, equity and inclusion role at Molloy College

December 8, 2021


Molloy College in New York has named Dr. Donald “DJ” Mitchell Jr. the college’s first Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Mitchell, who currently leads Bellarmine University’s diversity, equity and inclusion programs, will begin his new role at Molloy on February 1, 2022.

Mitchell was appointed Bellarmine University’s inaugural chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer in June 2020. He serves as a member of Bellarmine’s Cabinet, advising Dr. Susan M. Donovan, Bellarmine’s president, and other Cabinet members on university-wide initiatives, programs and policies. He also develops and monitors key performance indicators that demonstrate the university’s progress in diversity, in addition to co-chairing the President’s Advisory Board on Equity and Inclusion.
“Dr. Mitchell has been invaluable to Bellarmine University students, faculty, staff and me as we chart the course to fully live and realize a truly inclusive, diverse and equitable community,” Donovan said. “As the inaugural chief officer of diversity, equity and inclusion, he worked to ensure community engagement with our strategic plan and a sense of space and place for all members to feel welcome. He addressed difficult and challenging issues and lifted our mission to educate students body, mind and spirit—for meaningful lives, rewarding careers, ethical leadership and service to improve the human condition. I am grateful for his work and committed to ensuring that we continue to move forward with this mission-critical initiative of our strategic plan.”
Mitchell said the transition will be bittersweet. “My experience as chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer at Bellarmine is the highlight of my professional career thus far, thanks to Dr. Donovan’s trust in me and overwhelming support from the Bellarmine community,” he said. “Together, we have developed some tremendous initiatives and programs that will sustain Bellarmine’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts for years to come, and I look forward to seeing how high Bellarmine rises. I’m just blessed to have played a small role in the journey.”
During the past academic year, Bellarmine made measurable progress on the equity and inclusion commitment that is a major pillar of the university’s strategic plan, “Tradition and Transformation.” The university finalized a new affirmative action plan; conducted a campus accessibility audit; conducted training and professional development workshops for several offices; and launched an internal grant program to support diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives from faculty, staff and students. The incoming first-year class is the most diverse in Bellarmine’s history, with 25 percent of the 593 students identifying as students of color.
According to Molloy College’s announcement, Mitchell will report directly to Molloy’s president, Dr. James Lentini, and will join Lentini’s Cabinet.
“DJ Mitchell is the ideal choice to serve as Molloy’s inaugural Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion,” Lentini said. “He has a proven track record in managing DEI issues—in collaboration with students, staff and faculty, as well as with external partners—to achieve that goal. Bellarmine is also a Catholic university, which shares the values and philosophy that drive Molloy,” an independent Catholic college based in Rockville Centre that was founded in 1955 by the Sisters of Saint Dominic in Amityville, N.Y.
In addition to his administrative role at Bellarmine, Mitchell serves as a professor of education in the university’s Annsley Frazier Thornton School of Education. He was appointed chair for the M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership and Social Justice Program in June 2018 and served in that role until August 2021. He is married to Dr. Jakia Marie, assistant professor of Sociology at Bellarmine, and they have one son, Donald “Tre” Mitchell III.

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