top of page

Meet Dr. James H. Whitney III

Equity Strategist • Executive and Student Success Coach • Organizational Leadership Consultant • Empowerment Speaker

Dr. James H. Whitney III helps traditionally marginalized students to achieve their educational goals, while equipping educational and corporate leaders with the equity mindset and leadership skills needed to advance their institutions and personal goals. Dr. Whitney: 

  • Graduated from Rutgers University, Harvard Leadership Institute and the AASCU Millennium Leadership Institute

  • Leads Academic Operations at Mercer Community College 

  • Implemented equity and inclusion policies and programs  for over 50,000 students annually, as Assistant Vice Chancellor at Rutgers, The State University–New Brunswick

  • Serves as a Adjunct Professor of Africana Studies, Education and Public Policy

  • Is a writer/principal investigator of federal and state grants totaling over $20 million

  • Spent over a decade directing pre-college and pre-graduate school initiatives and programs, including: Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math-Science, Student Support Services and the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Program for Doctoral Studies 


Click, drag and view these memorable moments

​He also:

  • Developed and implemented the RU 1st initiative, Paul Robeson Leadership Institute, Rutgers Office of Student Access and Educational Equity to support, retain and graduate low-income, first-generation, and historically underrepresented students 

  • Expanded Rutgers’ Undergraduate Research and Career Center to increase internships, student career readiness, pubic, private and corporate partnerships

  • Led major institutional and implemented strategic plans

  • Serves as a legislative advocate; having testified multiple times for federal and state education funding that has helped to increase funding for programs like Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), PELL Grant, and Tuition Aid Grant (TAG)

  • Served on Governor Philip D. Murphy’s New Jersey Student Success Higher Education Task Force to strategic plan for New Jersey Higher Education

  • Is a member and leader of National Organizations, including National Association of Student Personnel Administrator (NASPA), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the Council on Opportunity Education (COE)

  • Conducts a host of presentations, motivational workshops and leadership development series

He says ...

"Every student should have a fair chance to achieve their educational goals without unnecessary institutional burdens or struggle because of where they came from."

I know first-hand … 


Like many African-American males who are the first in their family to attend college, my quest for a higher education wasn’t the easiest. 


My mother died when I was only 11, and my father struggled with drug and alcohol addiction after many tours in the Army. This left my 23-year-old sister as my sole support. We struggled, often moving from apartment to apartment after being evicted and not having money for food, electricity, or extras that many of my peers had.  Thankfully, she put me in a great public school where I excelled.


Fortunately, my high school principal facilitated my entry into the Educational Opportunity Program at Rutgers, The State University, which offered the academic and social support that assisted my retention. 


Unfortunately, I succumbed to poor peer influences that almost led to incarceration, but again mentors, family, and my “fictive kin” or “like family” -- a cornerstone of my research -- supported me. 

Today, because of my fictive kin experiences and values, I am a three-time graduate with a Doctorate in Education. My research examines family, community, and institutional supports that help lower-income and first-generation students aspire to and complete college.

Grad BBQ 269.JPG

I continuously work to ensure that students have a fighting chance to persevere, regardless of their adversities or life circumstances. 


My values are reflected in my life’s journey, and they are rooted in perseverance over adversity. 


My values also help me to support the next generation of students [00:02:26] who need assistance preparing for, accessing, and navigating higher education.


I continuously work to help other leaders to develop professionally and embrace change. 


It is essential that faculty and staff develop an “equity mindset” toward student success -- This is what unifies the university community, and it supports the achievements of those we are responsible for educating. 

How I can help you ...


Through The Whitney 360, which has equity as its cornerstone, I deliver executive and leadership coaching, advising and plans that facilitate student’s academic success, organizational change, and the enhancement of executive leadership. I can also provide assessments, organizational reviews, workshops and training as well as assist with grant writing and or technical assistance for funding and grant opportunities. 

Words That I live by ...

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."

- Barack Obama

People say ...

IMG_1335 copy.jpg

Dr. James Whitney has a clear record of prioritizing diversity and inclusion as mutually exclusive goals, and setting clear benchmarks for his teams to meet in pursuit of those goals. As Director of the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Program, Dr. Whitney shepherded individual students like myself from diverse backgrounds through the graduate application and preparation maze.


His students have been placed at top graduate programs across the country and have gained invaluable research and networking guidance from James. He is committed to his students and clients, and works tirelessly to help them meet their goals.


As former Assistant Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Academic Affairs at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Dr. Whitney was responsible for ensuring that administrators and the institution understood and could identify the real drivers of student success.


James is unmatched in terms of his ability to find fruitful terrain for both institutional leaders and their students or staff to meet and co-create an environment that is supportive of the innovation spurred by inclusion

- Ashley Garner
Ph.D. Candidate
Program Associate at the Mellon Foundation 
Former Student and Employee

Thoughtful and insightful, James Whitney understands the complex landscape of the college experience. Dr. Whitney knows how to work with students and their families to prepare for the application process, choosing the right place for each student to accomplish his or her goals. He is deeply aware and attentive to financial aid matters (and the ever-changing policies) so that students and their families are not overwhelmed by unexpected costs.


Dr. Whitney also has a keen knowledge of student success programming at different colleges and universities, and which high impact programs best support the needs of students. 

Dr. Whitney’s perspicacious understanding of university structures and organization allows him to converse with academic professionals of the growing concerns faced by the modern university—from affordability to diversity and inclusion, from educational ecosystems to new technologies for teaching and learning. He translates these important trends and changes to the college student, as well as carries the student perspective to university leaders so that they may design responsive and cutting edge programming for all students, including the different communities of students that come each year—from transfer to non-traditional student, as well as international students. 

His more than 17 years as a university professional makes James Whitney an excellent leader to help understand and navigate new trends and innovations of tomorrow’s college experiences.

- Ben Sifuentes-Jáuregui
Professor, American Studies and Comparative Literature
Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Academic Affairs (2015-2020)
Rutgers-New Brunswick
- Catherine A. Lugg, Ph.D.
Professor of Education (Emerita)
Rutgers University
Grad 2016 049 copy_edited_edited_edited.jpg

I am delighted to recommend Dr. James Whitney, III. He is an outstanding leader, focused on serving students, their families, community organizations, and colleges and universities in meeting their benchmarks regarding equitable opportunities and services to historically ignored populations.


Additionally, Dr. Whitney is a strategic thinker and communicator who both sees the implications of shifting social trends, and then effectively communicates these understandings to diverse audiences.


Finally, Dr. Whitney is a gifted grant writer, with decades of success securing funds to further the mission of various non-profit institutions. 

bottom of page