Get to Know Interim JJC President Dr. Judy Mitchell

Dr. Judy Mitchell was officially approved by the JJC Board of Trustees as the interim president of Joliet Junior College at their April 19 meeting. Dr. Mitchell assumes the role following the resignation of Dr. Debra Daniels on March 18. 

“The continuity of Joliet Junior College’s services and programs is absolutely our priority,” said Mitchell. “I’m honored and humbled to take on this role, and it is my goal to ensure that the college remains committed to its mission, serving students and our community to the best of our ability.”

Judy Mitchell

Dr. Judy Mitchell

Mitchell has worked at the college for nearly 20 years, most recently serving in the role of  vice president of administrative services since September 2012. 

The following Q&A with Dr. Mitchell will offer students, employees and community members the chance to get to know her better. 

You’ve been at JJC for almost 20 years. What has kept you invested in the college?

Honestly, there are many factors which have me rooted at JJC.  When I took my first accounting class, as a returning adult student, the instructor was excellent and concerned about each and every student in the class.  My educational experiences at JJC continued throughout both of my associate degrees, and to each faculty member I had I am forever grateful.  Next, within each department that I worked for, beginning in Computer Information Systems up through my most recent role as the vice president of administrative services I have been supported, inspired, and encouraged by so many wonderful individuals throughout my tenure.

Although I did work in the corporate world in my earlier years, JJC provided a community, a home in my district, which I continue to enjoy thoroughly.  Our students are inspirational, they keep us active and engaged, and we learn from them each and every day.  What better place to work other than in a community college!

What do you see as your biggest priority?

My biggest priority is to ensure that the college continues to achieve greatness, leading us into the next 115 years.  I will work with faculty, staff, and administration to increase enrollment while ensuring student retention and success! We are fortunate to have so many excellent programs and services at the college, but at the same time we must continue to work on continuous improvement for many of our programs and services in order to guarantee our students the best education possible.

What do you see as your biggest challenge(s)?

Judy and her husband, Rick, on vacation in Arizona in 2015.

Judy and her husband, Rick, on vacation in Arizona in 2015.

The state budget crisis, MAP funding, and the cost of education for our students.  I will continue to work with our legislators in hopes of receiving relief from the state.  JJC depends on the state for approximately 10 percent of the college budget, MAP funding for our students, and grant funding to support so many much needed programs.  If cuts and reductions are in the future, it is imperative for the college community to work together to identify new revenue generating ideas, as well as reductions, while keeping our students’ quality education at the forefront and not placing the burden on them.  Every employee at the college plays a role in enrollment and retention.

What excites you the most about this opportunity?

I should ask, what doesn’t?  I was truly humbled and honored to be asked to serve as the interim president of Joliet Junior College.  I have been fortunate to serve in many capacities at the college, all which allowed me to learn various aspects of the institutional operations. The business side allowed me to support our students, faculty and staff both financially and academically.  In my role as the vice president I worked collaboratively with academic and student development initiatives which included AQIP projects, Higher Learning Commission visits, Strategic Enrollment Management initiatives, master plan initiatives for new construction and renovations, and many more.  Know that my door is always open, and I look forward to supporting the JJC community.

Have you read a good book or seen a good movie lately you’d like to share?

I recently read the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin.  It’s a rather quick read, but what I gleaned from the book were good habits that I believe each of us would find beneficial.  Some of my personal takeaways were:

  • Making a daily list of good things, create a journal
  • Set realistic goals; day, week, monthly
  • Evaluate pros and cons of change
  • One small change at a time
  • Behave like you want to become
  • Let go of anger
  • Take a walk

Some of us know you root for a certain football team.  Share (for those who might not know) who that team is and how you came to cheer for them.

My Green Bay Packers!  Although I have a few items in my office, I have a room at home that is green and gold all the way.  From autographed pictures and jerseys, to photos and my framed “Stockholder Shares.”  I have followed and supported the best team in the Midwest since I was a little girl.  My mom’s family was from northern Wisconsin, which we visited often, and although she is a Bears fan like my dad I would root for the Packers every week.  Football Sundays are great in our house, my entire family is a Bears fan and then there’s me!

Beyond rooting for the Packers, what are your other interests or hobbies?

I enjoy playing golf.  I am not serious but have a great time relaxing and getting out in the fresh air.  Most of my game typically revolves finding my ball in the weeds or water, but laughter is the best medicine!  Working in the yard is also enjoyable for me, although my husband may not agree.  I have “new ideas” and he just rolls his eyes!  Finally, spending time with my family is very important to me.  Throughout my career and my educational goals, I have been supported by my husband Rick of 35 years, and my children.  For those of you that haven’t heard, I am going to be a grandma for the first time this August.  I cannot wait!

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