Almanac Between Issues March 26, 2004
Vice President and Chief of Staff: Joann Mitchell
In anticipation of becoming Penn's next president, Dr. Amy Gutmann announced yesterday that Joann Mitchell, vice provost for administration at Princeton, and Penn's former director of Affirmative Action, has agreed to join Dr. Gutmann at Penn on July 1 as vice president and chief of staff, filling the position recently vacated by Pedro Ramos (Almanac January 20, 2004).
Before Ms. Mitchell was recruited to Princeton University in 1993--as associate provost and affirmative action officer--she served as director of affirmative action at Penn for seven years, from 1986 until 1993. In 2001, Dr. Gutmann promoted Ms. Mitchell to her current position as vice provost for administration.
Dr. Gutmann said that Ms. Mitchell "expertly manages the Priorities Committee, which consists of faculty, students, and staff, and which recommends the University's annual operating budget and sets all departmental budgets. In addition to overseeing the budget-setting process, Joann works closely with me on all administrative matters and diversity initiatives, including the Target of Opportunity Committee (a faculty recruitment initiative) and the President's Task Force on Health and Well-Being. She oversees Princeton's policies on equal opportunity and affirmative action, and has been instrumental in recruiting and retaining a diverse faculty and staff. Joann has developed new strategies to advance equal opportunity, such as Excelling at Princeton, a continuing education program for support staff. Joann is also unusually adept at managing complex personnel issues involving faculty and senior administrators. She is an extraordinarily talented administrator and will be a tremendous asset to Penn."
In addition, Ms. Mitchell is a "highly valued community leader" who is active in a wide range of civic affairs. She serves as President of the Board of the McCarter Theatre Center, and on the boards of International Schools Services Inc., Association of Black Women in Higher Education (where she served a term as President), Women's Law Project, and the New Jersey Supreme Court's Committee on Minority Concerns. In 2002, Ms. Mitchell won the Princeton YWCA's Tribute to Women Award.
In 1978 Ms. Mitchell earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Davidson College. She earned her law degree in 1981 from Vanderbilt University and was assistant director of the Opportunity Development Center there. Prior to that she was an associate attorney with Manson, Jackson and Associates in Nashville. Earlier she was law clerk to the general counsel of Fisk University for two years, and during the same period served with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission.