Dr. Diane Hill is Assistant Chancellor at Rutgers University-Newark. She has been a member of the Rutgers University administration since 1988 and has served in key senior leadership positions during her tenure. Dr. Hill received a Ph.D. in Urban Systems, a joint program administered by New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Her research interests include advancing community engagement in higher education, with special emphasis on university-community partnerships in urban universities, school-based youth college and career development and engagement demonstration models, and community-based participatory research.
She is the co-founding Director of the Center for Pre-College Education and Outreach at Rutgers-Newark. In 2002, she founded and directed the Office of Campus and Conference Services, which evolved into the Office of Campus and Community Relations (OCCR) because of the department’s expanded role in executing and promoting community engagement initiatives. In 2010, Dr. Hill collaborated with the Office of the Chancellor to expand the vision of OCCR and transformed it into the Office of University-Community Partnerships, the campus’s first institutionalized office to advance university-community partnerships. She is responsible for creating and promoting partnerships and research collaborations between the university and public, private and community-based organizations.
Renowned for her expertise in building community relations, Dr. Hill has over 30 years of professional experience in education. A Newark native, she manifests a deep propensity for and commitment to creating partnerships with school systems to improve graduation rates and academic performance for youth. She was at the forefront of creating numerous academic enrichment “pipeline programs” for youth in the greater Newark area to make higher education opportunity an accessible reality for them. The “RU Ready for Work” program is exemplary of Dr. Hill’s dedication to the Newark community. She recruited and led a team in designing a school-based youth development demonstration model for high school students, supported by a university-community partnership among the Newark Public Schools, the City of Newark (NewarkWorks/Workforce Development), and several local foundations.
Her education and community engagement repertoire extends from early childhood to senior citizens. She has served as the principal and co-principal investigator for several grants: In collaboration with Rutgers Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Dr. Hill and her colleague, Rutgers Professor Dr. Mark Gluck, serve as co-principal investigators for the African-American Alzheimer’s Disease Health Literacy Program, which promotes research, memory health and a better understanding of Alzheimer’s among minority and economically disadvantaged seniors, who have a greater risk of developing the disease. Another hallmark of Dr. Hill’s outstanding community engagement work is forging a partnership between the United Way of Essex and West Hudson, the Urban League of Essex County, the Newark Public Schools and Rutgers-Newark to create the Newark Fairmount Promise Neighborhood initiative (PNI). The PNI is one of the signature grant programs of the White House and the U.S. Department of Education. A collaboration among over 25 community partners, which is unprecedented in the City of Newark, PNI brings public and private partners together to build a continuum of high-quality support services for children in one of the most impoverished communities.
The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Dr. Hill’s contributions have been recognized nationally and internationally, including being named one of the “100 Most Influential Persons in New Jersey” by the City News. She is recognized as a dedicated leader who is engaged in the community on various levels. She is a founding board member of the Marion P. Thomas Charter School, and has served as a member of St. James Preparatory School board and Newark Preschool Council, all located in Newark, NJ. Currently, she serves on the WBGO Public Broadcast Radio Station Board and Newark Women’s Conference Inc. Board of Directors, and is a member of the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation. She is also a recipient of the Chancellor’s Community Engagement Award, Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration Pi Alpha Alpha Society Induction and Award, the Organization of Black Faculty and Staff Legacy Award, the Tri-State Consortium and Service to the Community Award for Excellence, and The New Jersey State Speaker of the House Shirley Chisholm Education Award. Dr. Hill is often invited to professional forums as a speaker and has made presentations at local, statewide and national conferences to share her expertise, experience and research. She is currently engaged in brokering several university-community partnerships that support research, teaching and scholarship initiatives that impact urban communities.