Mitchell to lead national organization focused on minority engineering enrollment

A Vanderbilt School of Engineering dean will become president-elect of the National Association of Minority Engineering Program Advocates at the organization’s annual conference Feb. 6-9 at Purdue University.

Burgess Mitchell

Burgess Mitchell, assistant dean for student services, was elected to the two-year term Feb. 1. In 2015 he will begin a two-year term as president of NAMEPA, a national network of educators and representatives from industry, government and nonprofit organizations who are committed to improving the recruitment and retention of African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians earning degrees in engineering.

“This is an influential organization and a significant platform for Vanderbilt engineering. I congratulate Dean Mitchell on this nationally visible role,” said Dean Philippe Fauchet. “Our tireless work to raise the percentage of female students in the engineering school has resulted in a female population at 31 percent, roughly twice the national average.

“This one metric is simply not enough. Like many engineering schools, we lack the number of underserved minority students we very much want to recruit, retain and graduate in order to maintain a healthy and diverse STEM pipeline,” Fauchet said.

“Dean Mitchell’s NAMEPA leadership increases the visibility of Vanderbilt as a viable option for minority students to study engineering and related STEM fields at a welcoming and inclusive university,” he said.

Mitchell is the former chair of NAMEPA’s Region B (West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Tennessee), which was recognized as the 2012 Region of the Year at the 33rd annual NAMEPA conference.

Mitchell also was honored by NAMEPA for his outstanding participation, dedication and leadership efforts in support of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. During his four-year tenure as Region B chair he coordinated two regions B and C conferences and served on the NAMEPA executive board.

Mitchell is adviser to Vanderbilt’s National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter, and a co-leader for Vanderbilt University, which is a partner in the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program. TLSAMP is a coalition of six Tennessee colleges and universities whose mission is to significantly increase the number of underrepresented students in STEM fields statewide.

Prior to joining the School of Engineering in 2002, Mitchell served in a variety of positions at the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a B.S degree in speech communications. He was the director of University Outreach, an academic adviser in the College of Engineering, and an assistant to the academic counselor in men’s athletics. Mitchell earned a M.S. degree in education administration and supervision at Tennessee State University where he currently is in the higher education administration doctoral program.