Following a rich background in the Peace Corps, as a probation officer with the State of New Jersey, and an activist for women’s issues and human rights, Dr. Karen L. Mitchell began her career with Ottawa University as a “grader” (teaching assistant) when OU-Kansas City was located on the Kansas City Country Club Plaza in 1975. She then became an instructor and worked her way through a number of positions, including office manager, director of marketing and public relations (KC campus), director of the health care and management program, and dean of instruction. She earned her PhD in Political Science from the University of Missouri-Kansas City along the way and retired in August 2012 as a tenured professor.
Mitchell was highly instrumental in a number of OU’s Adult, Professional and Online Studies initiatives. She developed the processes and paperwork for, and remained an advocate of, the Credit by Assessment for Experiential Learning program; developed the Women’s Studies minor; administered the Myers Briggs Type Indicator for both staff and students; and created a number of standard individualized majors for Ottawa-Online. Mitchell endeared herself to her many students throughout her faithful service to OU, distinguishing herself as a competent and engaging teacher in face-to-face classes, online and at The College campus. She also served on numerous University committees, including University-wide assessment teams, the UniversityAcademic Council, the Faculty Rights and Benefits Committee, the Presidential Search Committee, the New Ventures Committee for the Strategic Planning Initiative, the Arts and Sciences Council, and the University Self Study Steering Committee, among others. Though formally retired, Mitchell continues to impact OU students as an adjunct faculty member. She also keeps busy with her grandchildren and her native bird infirmary.
“Karen’s leadership and active participation in our daily lives will be deeply missed,” said Academic Provost Dr. Terry Haines. “I am sure that I speak for the entire Ottawa family when I say that we share a sense of joy for Karen as she enters into a new and exciting chapter in her life, but also a sense of sadness that we will not have our friend interacting with us on a daily basis. I know her impact on the University and on her students will continue long into the future.”
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