Meet the Director

James H. Whitney IIIJames H. Whitney III Dr. Whitney is a three-time graduate of Rutgers University, receiving a B.S. in Administration of Justice and Africana Studies from Rutgers College, a Master’s of Social Work (M.S.W.), and Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) from the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. Throughout his career, Dr. Whitney has improved the quality of many services, created new initiatives, and directed programs that have helped thousands of students. Dr. Whitney has been called upon by university leaders, faculty, administrators and colleagues to help design, develop and improve programs, initiatives and plans with a particular emphasis on improving student services, access to resources and programs for students who first-generation, low-income, or underrepresented. Dr. Whitney’s research, “Fictive Kin as Capital: A Case Study on African American Youth Aspirations for College” examines how fictive kin is used as social capital to facilitate college aspirations among low-income & first generation African Americans. His findings reveal the importance the community, religious organizations, and programs like Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) and TRIO, provide for helping African American youth aspire to college.

Nearly 20 years ago, Dr. Whitney, a Rutgers EOF Program student himself, faced many adverse circumstances growing up, and believes that opportunity programs like EOF are responsible for his successes today. He has dedicated his career, educational pursuits and professional life to serving the needs of all students, but has a passion for those who are first-generation, low-income, and underprivileged students. Whitney has served many roles prior to his work in administration to support student in and outside of the classroom.

Dr. Whitney’s work with Undergraduate Academic Affairs (UAA) began as the inaugural Senior Executive Director of Student Access & Educational Equity (SAEE), which coordinates support services for nearly 3,000 students and oversees $10 million in state and federal grants. In his current role of Assistant Vice Chancellor, Dr. Whitney is charged with providing support and coordination for undergraduate students on Rutgers New Brunswick campus. Dr. Whitney’s responsibilities include SAEE, the Aresty Undergraduate Research Programs, Distinguished Fellowships, Byrne Seminars and First-year Interest Groups (FIGS), as well as operations for UAA. Units under Dr. Whitney’s leadership coordinate and work with over 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Most recently Dr. Whitney III has been asked to lead the “RU-1st Initiative,” which is a New Brunswick Chancellor and UAA Vice Chancellor initiative to increase community dialogue on campus diversity. The RU-1st Initiative also includes increasing coordination and support among schools and programs in New Brunswick for first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students. He has also worked to establish the Paul Robeson Leadership Institute. Whitney also sits on many university-wide committees that focus on issues of access, diversity, inclusion and student success. He is also called upon to give lectures, speeches, and presentations on these issues on behalf of the University, UAA, as well as many community and local organizations.

Dr. Whitney is active in the classroom; he has developed and instructed courses within the Africana Studies Department, including “Black Family,” “Blacks and Economic Structures,” “Hip Hop Culture,” as well as “Black Male Identity”—all with the aim to increase knowledge and awareness of African American culture in the United States. Dr. Whitney remains the principal investigator of TRIO grants at Rutgers-New Brunswick and serves as the Ronald E. McNair Project Director, assisting underrepresented student prepare for a doctorate.