Stephen Mitchell began working at Adrian College as an adjunct faculty member in 2016 after his wife, Dr. Katie Rasmussen, began working full time at the college. Mitchell taught classes for both Core and Communication Arts and Sciences, and is now the Academic Support Specialist and Tutor Coordinator.
“Part of my work is supported by a federal TRiO grant for our Excel program, which serves first-generation and low-income students and students who may have a disability” Mitchell said. “In that capacity, I work as a professional mentor helping students navigate their trajectory through college and think about what will constitute their next steps. As the Tutor Coordinator, I manage the tutoring services available to students on campus.”
Mitchell earned his B.A. from Washburn University, and his master’s degree from Texas Tech University, and has many good memories of his childhood growing up in Topeka, Kan., which he described whimsically as growing up with “sunflowers, and wheat, and the Wizard of Oz.”
When asked what inspired him to pursue higher education, Mitchell responded that, “When asked ‘What is the meaning of life,’ a professor I once had answered, ‘Questions.’ I like that answer, and it gets at what I love about being around higher education. Everyone is looking for answers to questions, hoping to augment their personal or the broader human understanding of life.”
Outside of the classroom, Mitchell enjoys taking time to walk and think, take leisurely bicycle rides, play disc golf, collect records, and read deeply-reported and well-crafted journalism and cultural commentary.
Mitchell and his wife, Katie Rasmussen, have a dog named “Agnes,” which he described as part Chihuahua and part terrier or, “chihuarier” for short, and a very smart long-haired cat named Purrfessor who dabbles in “meowstophysics, litterature, and furrensic science.”
Cat puns aside, Mitchell said one of the most important life lessons he learned came from the Boy Scouts.
“They taught us to leave a campground cleaner than you found it.” Mitchell said. “I guess I would extend that reasoning as a goal for work and life, to leave things better than I found them in whatever ways I can.”