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Derrick D. Dixon

Derrick D. Dixon, 35

Assistant Dean of Student Administration

New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine at Arkansas State University

Jonesboro

Professional achievements
• Served on team that created the Office of Conflict Resolution & Student Conduct at the University of Mississippi.
• Named 2019 Student Conduct Professional of the Year by the Association for Student Conduct Administration.

Community involvement
Board member, Arkansas Early Learning Inc. of Jonesboro.

How you define success
“I define success as the ability to consistently persist through failure and challenges. It is critical to understand that failing does not make one a failure. One is only a failure if they give up. The individuals who are consistently successful are the ones who use their failing moments as a catalyst for growth and development.”

Advice for your 18-year-old self
“Everyone’s journey is different. Therefore, do not spend a lot of time comparing yourself to others. Most importantly, continue being confident and willing to stand firm in your individuality. It will serve you well throughout your life and career.”

Top challenge facing Arkansas
“One of Arkansas’ top challenges is improving the health care infrastructure in the state. Arkansas annually ranks among the bottom five states in the country in physicians per capita, and in the annual health rankings, we are in the bottom five. Those numbers are mainly driven by a lack of access to health care and health education in the rural parts of our state. This is especially true in the Delta. NYITCOM is diligently working to address those issues. The need is strong, but the opportunity is excellent as well.”

Where you see yourself in 10 years
“In 10 years, I see myself as a community college, college or university president.”

A word that describes you
“Advocate.”

First job and lesson learned
“My first professional job was in the Office of Conflict Resolution & Student Conduct at the University of Mississippi. This job taught me many hard lessons, but my biggest takeaway was learning the importance of enhancing my professional skill set to become an indispensable asset to the community.”

Professional inspiration
“My professional inspiration is to serve as a thriving example for individuals from low socioeconomic and underserved communities. Growing up in Camden, Mississippi, I was not exposed to many professionals.”

Most valuable lesson learned
“The most important lesson that I have learned is that conflict and failure are unavoidable. While both are almost universally regarded in negative terms, Kenneth Cloke eloquently highlights that they indicate a need to transition to a new state, and that they also provide an opportunity to develop the skills needed to do so. As a result, instead of avoiding conflict or failure, I learned the importance of identifying the most efficient ways to resolve the conflict and recover from failure.”

Advice for future 40 Under 40 honorees
“My advice is a quote from author Robert Brault: ‘Stubbornly persist, and you will find that the limits of your stubbornness go well beyond the stubbornness of your limits.’”

Learning from a mentor
“Lionel Maten is my mentor. He is the assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management at the University of Mississippi. Maten has been a role model and inspiration throughout my career. He taught me the importance of approaching my work authentically. He also taught me the importance of skill building and improving my craft instead of seeking ‘job titles.’ Maten always told me that if I, as a young professional, focus on my skill development, I will be prepared for any opportunity that comes my way. Most importantly, Maten taught me that being a father will always provide greater fulfillment than any professional accolade.”

Professional “aha” moment
“My professional ‘aha’ moment happened early in my career when I learned the power of developing competence in the areas that most of my colleagues actively worked to avoid. Developing skills in conflict resolution and facilitating grievance procedures allowed me to stand out as an asset for the university.”

Career dream as a child
“I wanted to become an attorney.”

Most fulfilling career moment
“My most fulfilling career moment was at the 2023 Association of Student Conduct Administration Annual Conference. Throughout the conference, various attendees from across the nation approached me. They shared that attending one or more of my presentations over the years changed their professional philosophy for managing student conduct/conflict resolution incidents on their campus.”

Making Arkansas more attractive to young professionals
“An increase in the median income for young professionals.”

Best thing about Arkansas
“The best things about Arkansas are that its cost of living is below the national average and its opportunities for young professionals. As a result, it is a great place to start a career and family.”

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40 Under 40

June 10, 2025

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