Dennis Mitchell and Melissa Begg Named to Provost Roles

September 3, 2014

Columbia Provost John H. Coatsworth, PhD, this summer named two CUMC faculty members to roles in the provost’s office. Their responsibilities in the provost’s office will be in addition to their faculty roles.

Dennis Mitchell, DDS, MPH, has been appointed senior associate provost for faculty diversity and inclusion, as of Sept. 1. An associate professor of dental medicine and senior associate dean for student development in the College of Dental Medicine, Dr. Mitchell will lead Columbia’s ongoing commitment to attracting, advancing, and retaining a diverse faculty. He will also lead implementation of the program elements of the university’s ongoing financial commitment to enhance the diversity of its faculty and will chair the Provost’s Advisory Council for the Enhancement of Faculty Diversity.

Dr. Mitchell joined the Columbia faculty in 1991 after earning his DDS degree at Howard University. His research focuses on enhancing the diversity of the health care labor force and addressing the oral health needs of underserved populations. He leads the College of Dental Medicine’s diversity programs that target faculty development and training and the enrollment of underrepresented minority students. He is also co-principal investigator on two pipeline development programs that bring students from underrepresented groups to the CUMC campus each summer.

Melissa Begg, ScD, professor of biostatistics in the Mailman School of Public Health, was appointed vice provost for educational programs, as of July 1. To advance interschool and interdisciplinary educational initiatives, Dr. Begg will monitor the university’s academic programs and develop and implement education program proposals, including plans for distance and continuing education. Dr. Begg also will direct the university’s accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, a complex process that takes place every 10 years.

Dr. Begg came to Columbia in 1989 after earning her doctorate in biostatistics at Harvard. Her research has focused on oral health, mental health, and statistical methods for analyzing clustered data. She has served as principal investigator for two diversity programs at Columbia: the BEST Program for undergraduates and the PRIDE Program for junior faculty. At Mailman, she has led the implementation of a dramatically redesigned curriculum for the school’s largest degree program, the master of public health degree.