Dr. Roland Mitchell Named Interim Dean of the College of Human Sciences & Education
Dr. Roland Mitchell, interim Dean of the College of Human Sciences & Education, officially began his term on June 18, 2018. He assumes the role of dean and E.B. “Ted” Robert Endowed Professor, following Dean Damon Andrew’s transition to Dean of the College of Education at his alma mater, Florida State University.
“Serving as your Dean for the past five years has been more than a job for me... It has been my unwavering passion. Together, we have significantly advanced our mission, and we have staked our claim as the “Quality of Life College” in Louisiana and beyond,” said Dean Andrew. “I ask that you provide Interim Dean Roland Mitchell with your full support and enthusiasm as the college continues to advance.”
Dr. Mitchell has authored six books and numerous other scholarly works that have appeared in leading educational journals. He is the co-editor of The Crisis of Campus Sexual Violence, which was awarded an Outstanding Academic Titles award and highlighted on the Top 25 Favorites list of the Choice editors. He serves as the director of the Louisiana Summit on African American Male Educational Success, is an advisory board member of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, an associate board member of Campus Federal Credit Union, and for his ongoing service at meeting the needs of underrepresented populations in education, Roland has been awarded the David A. Kahn Award for Exemplary Service, by the Baton Rouge Youth Coalition. Dr. Mitchell received his BA in History from Fisk University and his MEd in Higher Education from Vanderbilt University. He then went on to earn a PhD in Educational Research from The University of Alabama. Dr. Mitchell joined the college in 2005 as an instructor and most recently served as the Associate Dean for Research & Academic Services and Jo Ellen Levy Yates Endowed Professor in the School of Education.
We wanted to know…what is Dr. Mitchell like outside of the office or classroom? We sat down with him to talk work, passions, family, and fun.
What is your favorite part of working for the College of Human Sciences & Education?
The thing that I find most engaging is that because of the breadth of our schools, there is no part of the community that we do not touch. So I’ve had the opportunity to work on issues like human trafficking, police reform, poverty, disaster relief… It just blows my mind that on a regular basis I meet the most interesting people, and I always have an opportunity to learn.
We talk a lot about how our students are improving quality of life across the lifespan, what does it mean to you to be the “Quality of Life College”?
There is not a single day that there is not activity within our College directly aligned with helping people, improving our community, and leading the way. We really are an example of what is right... What works and what is meaningful… Not just for Louisiana, Baton Rouge and the LSU community, but for the human community.
When you’re not working, where can we find you?
Playing racquetball! This is going to sound bad, but nothing gives me more joy than being in my mid-forties and seeing undergrad students roll up and being able to give them a run for their money. The beauty of the game is that you can tell a lot about the person’s character by how they play. So, racquetball is the kind of game where you don’t have to be super athletic. So you may not be as fast or as strong or as agile as your opponent, but it really is almost like chess. It’s a thinking game.
Aside from playing racquetball, what is your idea of a perfect day?
Well… I’m not sure about one day, but Father’s Day weekend this year was kind of my perfect weekend. I’m originally from Nashville... and that Friday was my mom and dad’s 49th wedding anniversary. So my brother and I surprised them and we got to do Father’s Day weekend in Nashville. Being with my family, going back to Nashville and my roots… I loved every part of that.
Then I came home and my wife picked me up in New Orleans. We walked around and enjoyed our day in New Orleans. We did dinner at the Palace Café. I’m obsessed with their bananas foster. Then we came home and I spent the rest of the night feeding, bouncing, and playing with my six-month-old baby daughter!
So that weekend I got to see my mom and my dad in their hometown, I spent time in a city that I love with my wife, and then I had time just with my brand new baby. It was the trifecta.
Do you have any guiding principles or advice that you would give to students?
The advice that I would give to students is don’t be a spectator. Don’t just be happy to be at LSU. You are here to challenge us to be the best that we can be. Be vocal. If there are things that you need, if you have ideas, don’t just be a bystander. Get into it. In my experience, the students that are the most engaged are the most successful later in life. We owe our students our best ideas. And I want them to push us to create and articulate those ideas.
The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs, 18 graduate programs, and 7 online graduate degree and/or certificate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 1,120 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.
Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education at lsu.edu/chse.