About Donald Mitchell Jr., Ph.D.

Dr. Mitchell's research and scholarship focus on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education contexts, primarily using qualitative methodologies. More specifically, his work theoretically and empirically explores the effects of race, gender, and identity intersections within higher education contexts, with a particular interest in historically Black fraternities and sororities and historically Black colleges and universities as microsystems and macrosystems of analysis.

He is recipient of the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference's 2016 McGraw Hill Distinguished Scholar Award; the American College Personnel Association's 2015 Emerging Scholar Award, Grand Valley State University's 2015 Distinguished Early-career Scholar Award, the Multicultural/Multiethnic Education Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Association's 2014 Dr. Carlos J. Vallejo Memorial Award for Emerging Scholarship, the American College Personnel Association’s Standing Committee for Men and Masculinities 2014 Outstanding Research Award (with Dr. Darris Means), and the Michigan College Personnel Association's 2013 John Zaugra Outstanding Research/Publication Award. He was also awarded the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity's 2012 Richard McKaig Outstanding Doctoral Research Award for his dissertation, "Are They Truly Divine?: A Grounded Theory of the Influences of Black Greek-Lettered Organizations on the Persistence of African Americans at Predominantly White Institutions."

Dr. Mitchell is an assistant professor of higher education at Grand Valley State University. In addition, he currently serves as an editorial board member for the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, the Journal of Ethnographic & Qualitative Research, and Oracle: The Research Journal of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors.

Dr. Mitchell earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Shaw University, the first historically Black institution in the South, a Master of Science in educational leadership from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and a PhD in educational policy and administration with a concentration in higher education from the University of Minnesota—Twin Cities.


August 2012 Present Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator, M.Ed. in Higher Education Program, Grand Valley State University
August 2015 Present Fulbright Specialist Roster Candidate, Council for International Exchange of Scholars
November 2015 Present Director, Student Academic Success Courses, Grand Valley State University
January 2016 Present Faculty Associate, Division of Inclusion & Equity, Grand Valley State University

Curriculum Vitae



Research Interests

Black Greek-lettered organizations, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Intersectionality and higher education, Qualitative research methods, and Race and gender in higher education

Honors and Awards

  • 2015 Distinguished Early-Career Scholar, Grand Valley State University
  • 2015 Distinguished Young Alumni Award, Minnesota State University
  • 2015 Emerging Scholar Award, American College Personnel Association
  • 2014 Dr. Carlos J. Vallejo Memorial Award for Emerging Scholarship, Multicultural/Multiethnic Education Special Interest Group, American Educational Research Association
  • 2014 Outstanding Research Award, Men and Masculinities Standing Committee, American College Personnel Association
  • 2014 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award, UNCF and Shaw University
  • 2014 Rising Alumni Honoree, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota
  • 2013 MCPA John Zaugra Outstanding Research/Publication Award, Michigan College Personnel Association
  • Honorable Mention, 2013 "Outstanding Doctoral Research Award Competition," American Association of Blacks in Higher Education
  • 2012 Richard McKaig Outstanding Doctoral Research Award, Center for the Study of the College Fraternity and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors
  • 2016 McGraw Hill Distinguished Scholar Award, Ethnographic & Qualitative Research Conference


  • EDH 685: Practicum I
  • EDH 695: Master's Thesis
  • EDH 693: Master's Project
  • EDH 680: Minority Serving Institutions: History, Culture, and Student Affairs
  • EDH 656: Organization and Administration of Higher Education
  • EDH 652: The American College Student


September 2007February 2012 PhD, educational policy and administration; higher education, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
August 2006July 2007 MS, educational leadership, Minnesota State University, Mankato
August 2002May 2006 BS, chemistry, Shaw University

Contact Information

Leadership & Learning 408C DEV
College of Education
Grand Valley State University
401 W. Fulton St.
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Website: works.bepress.com/donaldmitchelljr


Edited Books (2)

Refereed Journal Articles (12)

Book Chapters (6)

Edited Journal Special Issue (1)

Reports (1)

Book Reviews, Editorials, & Other Publications (8)