Executive Director and Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Damara Hightower Mitchell

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Dr. Damara Hightower Mitchell has held progressively responsible leadership roles in K-16 settings including teacher and administrator; Education Associate for Educator Preparation at the South Carolina State Department of Education; Assistant Professor and Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Accreditation at Claflin University; academic administrator in the Office of the Provost as the lead for the assessment of the SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plan at the University of South Carolina-Columbia and its four regional campuses; and most recently as the Dean of Education, Health and Human Services and Associate Professor at her undergraduate alma mater, Benedict College.

A few highlights from her time as Dean include the restoration of National Recognition of the Elementary Education Program; Reaffirmation of CAEP/NCATE Accreditation, President of the South Carolina Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, Fulbright Hays Scholar in Cameroon and Ghana, Women of Distinction Honoree by the Kemetic Institute for Health and Human Development; and recipient of the Advocate for African American Students Award from the Center for the Education and Equity of African American Students for leading the transformation of the Benedict College educator preparation curriculum to leverage African Diaspora Literacy to bolster student success.

Having earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Education from Benedict College, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Supervision-K-12 from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Carolina; and studying education internationally as an ESL teacher in Holon, Israel, and as an International Perspectives in Higher Education Delegate in Dublin, Galway, and Limerick Ireland, Dr. Hightower Mitchell is clear her purpose is to help others create the lives they desire through education. Her scholarship and publications center on educational equity and access for underrepresented populations with an emphasis on first-generation students, African Diaspora Literacy, and the intersectionality of being a mother and educator.

While grateful for the 360-degree view of education her career has afforded, Damara’s greatest joy is found in those moments spent simply as Damara Mitchell, Roger’s wife, and Drake’s “mom boss.”

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