Jacquelyn Litt reappointed to another five-year term as dean of Douglass

Jacquelyn Litt was reappointed to another five-year term as dean of Douglass Residential College
Photo: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

When Jacquelyn Litt arrived at Rutgers University in 2010, she knew she would face a challenge leading a new residential college that would appeal to today’s students while fulfilling the college’s historical mission to advance women’s success.

Now, nearly five years later, Litt has not only met that challenge, but she has also expanded the unique experiences that Douglass Residential College (DRC) offers its 2,200 students to create the next generation of women leaders.

“As the singular women’s residential college at a major public university, I can now say that Douglass is recognized across the nation as a leader in women’s education. Our enrollment has grown tremendously since 2010 and the increased levels of student involvement show that we are meeting women students’ needs for leadership opportunities, innovative learning experiences, academic engagement, and peer learning and support,’’ said Litt, whose successful tenure as dean of Douglass Residential College recently received key endorsements from the university’s administration and the Rutgers Board of Governors.

“The women of Douglass can take advantage of all the opportunities offered by an all-women’s college and a world-class research university,” said Rutgers University President Robert Barchi. “Douglass Residential College is a national model for women’s education, and I’m proud of Rutgers University’s investments in Douglass that will enable the college to pursue even higher levels of excellence.”

Last month, Rutgers University-New Brunswick Chancellor Richard L. Edwards reappointed Litt to another five-year term as dean of Douglass.

“Your highly effective leadership of and strong advocacy for the DRC since its inception have made this reappointment decision an easy one, and I look forward to working closely with you in the coming years,” wrote Chancellor Edwards in Litt’s reappointment letter.

Then just last week, the Board of Governors approved construction of the Global Village Learning Center – a 19,000 square-foot residential facility that will be added to the Jameson Dormitory Complex at Douglass and will provide additional dorm rooms and classrooms, as well as assembly and lounge spaces.

The $11.5 million project will feature a large meeting space that will offer students a supportive living-learning environment. The facility is slated for completion in 2016 to coincide with Rutgers’ 250th anniversary. Rutgers contributed nearly $7 million toward the project; the remaining funds will come through donor gifts.

The Global Village Learning Center is the latest in a series of projects demonstrating Rutgers University’s ongoing support for Douglass Residential College. Residence halls around campus have been renovated, creating modern and welcoming places for DRC students. Updates to the campus and recreation centers also have made the Douglass Campus a more welcome home to the students who choose to live there.

Looking forward, Litt’s priorities include development of a unique program dedicated to students’ professional and personal success. Taking an integrative, holistic approach, the Douglass Center for Women, Careers and Life will feature multidimensional programs focused on skill development, exploration of career opportunities, and the pursuit of values balancing life, work and service.

“The center will help students connect classroom learning in Rutgers’ majors, the unique experiences offered at Douglass, and their reflections on life’s purpose, enabling students to develop intentional and planned pathways toward success – however they define that in their lives,” Litt said.

As one of the only centers at a major public university devoted exclusively to the integration of women students’ personal and professional lives, the Douglass Center for Women, Careers and Life promises to provide a new approach to “career services.” Dean Litt looks forward to developing this program as part of the college’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2018.   

Litt’s other accomplishments as dean of Douglass include:

  • Providing leadership and vision for all functions, grants and fundraising for the Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in Math, Science and Engineering – the DRC’s award-winning program in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).
  • Integrating DRC’s programs with Rutgers’ world class courses, faculty and programs to create new opportunities for students.
  • Opening a DRC living-learning community located off the Douglass campus. The Douglass Women in Engineering Living-Learning Community, which opened on Busch Campus in fall 2012, serves 20 women each year from the Rutgers School of Engineering who value a close-knit living environment with academic mentoring and leadership activities along with being steps from their classrooms and laboratories. This successful living-learning community has received national media attention as an innovative program, and has contributed to the School of Engineering being ranked among the nation’s top 25 schools for awarding undergraduate degrees to women.
  • Clarifying DRC's mission as the model for women’s education through discussions and partnerships with college and university stakeholders, resulting in focused and purposeful strategic decision-making.
  • Instituting the first alumnae external advisory board for DRC, creating a new model for the college’s outreach to alumnae and donors and new opportunities for alumnae involvement in the college’s strategic decisions.
  • Working with her fellow Rutgers leaders to balance and increase the DRC’s budget after years of deficit spending.

Founded in 1918 as the New Jersey College for Women, Douglass Residential College has successfully transformed its mission to prepare women to thrive as global leaders in the 21st century's rapidly changing political and economic environments.

“Douglass today stands alone as the only all-female residential college at a flagship public research university in the nation. Through its wide array of academic opportunities, Rutgers is perhaps the best place to spearhead this new model for higher education – a world-class research university that includes an institution focused entirely on the success and advancement of undergraduate women within its structure,” Litt wrote in a recent op-ed.

For media inquiries please contact Greg Trevor at 848-932-0558 or gtrevor@ucm.rutgers.edu