R. Barbara Gitenstein
President of The College of New Jersey
R. Barbara Gitenstein, president of The College of New Jersey, has over 30 years of experience as a college professor and administrator in both the public and private sectors. She came to The College of New Jersey from Drake University where she served as provost and executive vice president. She is the first woman president of The College of New Jersey in its 154-year history.
Dr. Gitenstein began her career in higher education as an assistant professor of English at Central Missouri State University. She held various faculty posts including professor of English and chair of the English department before being appointed associate provost at SUNY-Oswego. Dr. Gitenstein also held the post of acting assistant provost for academic programs with the SUNY system while on leave from SUNY-Oswego. In 1992, Dr. Gitenstein was appointed to the position of provost at Drake University.
An active scholar, Dr. Gitenstein has written the book Apocalyptic Messianism and Contemporary Jewish-American Poetry, and has published numerous articles and reviews on Jewish and American literature. She also is active in higher education organizations and the community. Dr. Gitenstein currently serves as a commissioner for Middle States Commission on Higher Education; a member of the Association of Governing Boards Council of Presidents; a member of the American Council on Education Commission on Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equality; a presidential sponsor for the New Jersey chapter of the American Council on Education’s Network of Women Leaders in Higher Education; and a member of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and the Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. She has served as chair of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities President’s Council; co-chair of the Quality and Reputation subcommittee of the New Jersey Commission on Higher Education’s Long-Range Plan Steering Committee; board member of New Jersey Resources; chair and consultant evaluator for Middle States Commission on Higher Education evaluation teams; associate coordinator for the American Council on Education New York State Association of Women in Higher Education; and chair of the Jewish-American Literature of the Northeast Modern Language Association, among other positions. She also participated in the Higher Education Resources Services, Mid-Atlantic Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration at Bryn Mawr College.
Dr. Gitenstein has served as a board member of the ING Investment Funds, and ING Mutual Funds, and is a past statewide chair of the New Jersey State Employee Charitable Campaign. Dr. Gitenstein was the recipient of the 2002 Woman of Distinction Award by the Girl Scouts of Delaware-Raritan Council, and was honored by Executive Women of New Jersey at its 2002 Salute to the Policy Makers dinner for her contributions to the advancement of women in management and the professions. In May 2003, the YWCA of Princeton honored Dr. Gitenstein at its “Tribute to Women” in recognition of her outstanding achievements, contributions to the community, and model character. The Kidsbridge Children’s Museum, which is dedicated to tolerance education, honored Dr. Gitenstein in October 2007 with its first Humanitarian Award.
Born in Florala, Alabama, Dr. Gitenstein received a BA with honors in English from Duke University and a PhD in English and American Literature from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She and her husband, Dr. Donald Hart, have two children, Pauline and Samuel.