Prior to the start of the 2023-2024 Academic Year, Phenix City Campus Vice Chancellor Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims charged her leadership team at their annual Leadership Retreat to “Soar into Possibility by Breaking Through Boundaries.” This was a motivational push to her team to break down boundaries and the silos that might be keeping them from reaching new heights.
Breaking through boundaries is something that she has personally accomplished throughout her 25-year career in higher education. Seventeen of those years have been with Troy University, the last 3 of which have seen Dr. Rosser-Mims serves as the Vice Chancellor of the University’s Phenix City Campus.
When appointed to the post in 2020, Dr. Rosser-Mims became both the first female and African American to serve in the role of Vice Chancellor. Since stepping into the role, in the middle of a global pandemic, she has taken the Phenix City Campus to new heights, launching community impactful programs such as P.A.S.S, ELITE Leadership Academy, and the Barbara Toner Scholarship. She has enhanced the campus community partnerships with the Macon-Russell Community Action Agency, United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley, East Alabama Chamber of Commerce, and many more. She has set into motion a five-year strategic plan for the campus that consists of personnel development, enrollment growth, student retention and development, alumni and community engagement, and campus operations. Over the past academic year alone, the Phenix City Campus has seen a 3% retention rate increase.
It is that reputation for being a motivated and compassionate leader dedicated to improving all areas of the community that recently earned Dr. Rosser-Mims the 2023 Educator Award, presented by the Phenix City Russell County NAACP 5050 Chapter at their annual Freedom Fund Gala. This year, the chapter honored and awarded the four African American females who are at the forefront of education in our community, many of whom like Dr. Rosser-Mims are the first ever in the position. The other honorees were President Jackie Screws, the first female African American President of Chattahoochee Valley Community College; Dr. Janet Sherrod, the first female African American Superintendent of Phenix City Schools; and, Dr. Brenda Coley, Superintendent of Russell County Schools.
“This gala is also an opportunity to pay tribute to those whose unwavering commitment and shared values have made a profound impact on our community through their dedicated service,” said Iris Davis, Secretary of the NAACP chapter.
Being actively engaged in the community, Dr. Rosser-Mims not only speaks at conferences both in the United States and abroad, but she also has led academic trips to Africa. Locally, she has been the Vice Chair for the CHIPS 4 CHIPS (Chattahoochee Hub for Innovation and Production of Semiconductors) Alliance. The Alliance is positioned to create incredible economic development opportunities here in the Chattahoochee Valley. Local leaders, such as Dr. Rosser-Mims, have taken the lead on the national CHIPS Act (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors and Science Act), which was signed into law in 2022 with overwhelming bipartisan support, which aims to catalyze investments in domestic semiconductor manufacturing capacity. This could completely redefine the economic culture of our region for years to come by creating thousands of high-paying jobs.
“While her calendar remains full and she is always on the go, Dr. Rosser-Mims stays committed to the care of her colleagues and students. She is never without a smile and a good laugh,” one campus employee said. “Her door is always open, and you never feel like you are bothering her when you step into her office. Even though it has only been a few short years that she has been here, she has had a major impact on this campus and community. We are truly blessed to call her our leader.”
Shakea Miller, a leading member of the NAACP 5050 chapter, said Dr. Rosser-Mims serves as a tremendous inspiration to her and many others.
“I want to congratulate Dr. Rosser-Mims on her well-deserved award that she received during the NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet,” Miller said. “She is such an inspiration to so many women, like me. One of the many things I admire about her is that her words match her actions. I admire that she is so hands-on and gives her best in everything she touches. Please keep up the phenomenal job you are doing at Troy University. Keep on making history.”