Dr. William B. Bynum Jr., president of Jackson State University, announces the appointment of Dr. Mitchell Shears as associate vice president for Student Success. Shears will begin his new position on July 1.
“Dr. Shears has shown an immense commitment to students throughout his career as an educator and administrator,” said Dr. Bynum. “This position is one step in the realization of the first goal of our strategic plan, Students First & Foremost. Since joining the team at JSU in 2017, his impact can be seen throughout the campus in our academic departments and Institutional Advancement.”
As associate vice president for Student Success, Shears will manage and direct the University Academic Advisement Center, educational opportunities and work to bring all TRIO programs back to Jackson State.
He will continue in his role as executive director of Title III, a position he has held since October 2017. Shears brings several years of experience as a K-12 and community college academician. Previously, he served as academic dean and executive director of Title III and Sponsored Grants at Hinds Community College – Utica Campus.
“I am excited about the opportunity to serve students in this capacity and fully understand the president’s goal of “Students First and Foremost,” said Shears. “This role gives me an opportunity to create programs to address our declining retention and graduation rates. We hope to build a great team to ensure that we raise the bar while combining all of the strategic plan pillars to make sure our students are successful.”
As academic dean, Shears created and implemented an Academic 5-Star Plan that resulted in an increase of the campus overall grade point average from 2.01 to 2.53 in one academic year, exceeding the college’s overall grade point average; created and implemented a system of prevention and intervention support for at-risk and first-generation college students; and implemented intrusive advising strategies. A major accomplishment as academic dean included reducing the number of students on academic suspension from 16.1 percent to 1.9 percent; reduced the number of students on academic probation from 28.6 percent to 18.8 percent; and increased the number of students in good standing from 66.1 percent to 79.3 percent.
One of his major grant writing accomplishments while serving on the community college level was writing and being awarded eight Upward Bound (5 regular and 3 math and science) projects and a minority science and engineering improvement program combining to a total of over $11 million in the same awarding cycle by the U.S. Department of Education as a way of garnering additional funding that focuses on the Legislative Allowable Activity: establishing community outreach programs which will encourage elementary and secondary students to develop their skills and the interest to pursue postsecondary education.
In the K-12 setting, he served as a classroom teacher, curriculum specialist, principal of two high performing schools recognized by the National Title I Association as Distinguished Schools; and assistant superintendent/ director of academic support – supervising 19 schools; all in the Jackson Public Schools District. Additionally, he was named the JPS Administrator of the Year.
He is a graduate of Alcorn State University where he received his bachelor’s degree in mass communications and master’s in elementary education; and Mississippi College, where he earned his specialist and doctorate degrees in educational leadership.