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Dr. Deborah Mitchell earns 2022 Distinguished Faculty Award

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Posted on Friday, April 29, 2022

Westminster College awarded the prestigious 2022 Westminster College Distinguished Faculty Award to Dr. Deborah Mitchell, professor of English and film studies, during a livestreamed announcement on Friday, April 29.

Award nominations were submitted by colleagues, students and alumni, who noted Mitchell as an accomplished scholar, a generous colleague and a compassionate and engaging educator.

“Dr. Mitchell reminds us of the value of critical thinking, close reading, engaging discourse and intellectual courage, which are all at the core of what we do at a liberal arts college,” said colleague Dr. Russell Martin, professor of history. “After 26 years on this campus, I still say to myself that I want to teach like her one day.”

“Her students enter and leave the classroom as different people and they go on to pursue dreams that they may have not realized were possible,” said Dr. Jamie McMinn, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College.

Mitchell joined the Westminster faculty in 1992 and has served as department chair and division chair during her tenure. She has been a member of many campus committees and helped establish the digital journalism and sports management majors, as well as the film studies minor. She has led groups of students to England, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy. In June 2017, Mitchell completed a faculty fellowship in Rome sponsored by Richmond the American International University.

She is the author of the books Diane Keaton: Artist and Icon (2001) and The Makeover in Movies: Before and After in Hollywood Films, 1941-2002 (2004), both written with Dr. Elizabeth Ford, professor of English emerita, as well as Royal Portraits in Hollywood: Filming the Lives of Queens (2009) and Apocalyptic Visions in 21st Century Film (2018).

Her articles have appeared in various journals, and she has presented papers at national and international film and literature conferences.

She earned her undergraduate and master’s degrees from Youngstown State University and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.

The distinguished faculty award is presented to a tenured faculty member who has, over a sustained period of time, demonstrated characteristics of the most outstanding faculty: intellectual vitality, effective communication skills, the ability to motivate or inspire compassion and concern for student success, collegiality, and leadership.