Melody Mitchell was named chief of staff and assistant dean of Strategic Communications, Alumni Engagement, and Diversity Initiatives in January 2021. She had previously served as director of Alumni Events and Public Relations for the College of Law from 2004-2020 and assistant director from 2001-2004. She began her career at NIU in 1996 as an academic counselor for the M.B.A. Program in the College of Business.
As chief of staff and assistant dean, Melody works closely with the Dean and is responsible for internal and external marketing and communications strategies for the College of Law including its social media and website. She develops and leads the law school’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives including its new Race and Law Conversations Series; organizes DEI trainings; and assists with the development of DEI programing and recruitment strategies for Admissions. In addition, she supervises and markets CLE workshops; helps to establish cross-functional initiatives with colleges across campus and external partners; works to grow alumni engagement and giving; and assists with special projects.
Melody is member of several College of Law and University-wide committees. She co-chairs the Race and the Law committee and is a member of the Bench and Bar and College Division Communicators committees. She has previously served as secretary and member of the Presidential Commission on the Status of Minorities, Presidential Commission on the Status of Women, and Supportive Professional Staff Council. She is a mentor to the Black Law Students Association and has received its Friend of BLSA Award.
In 2018, Melody received a Mayoral Commendation from Mayor Richard Irvin of Aurora, Illinois for challenging the status quo and changing the narrative through commitment to education excellence and noble service to her community. In 2015, she was honored with the Excellence in Service and Leadership Award at the 12th Annual NIU College of Law Minority Alumni Reception for her commitment to students and alumni, service to the law school, and for building a diverse and caring community. In 2011, she received the Supportive Professional Staff Certificate of Recognition for outstanding service.
In the community, Melody currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for Voluntary Action Center (VAC) of Northern Illinois, which is known for its Meals on Wheels and Transportation services. She also chairs VAC’s Development Committee and Marketing/Events Committees. She is a past president of the Children’s Learning Center (CLC) Board of Directors and continues to serve as a CLC Friend. She has served on DeKalb School District committees, and she also volunteers at various programs for local community agencies including United Way and the Kane County Bar Association.