NJIT hires Jones, leading voice for DEI in higher education, as 1st chief diversity officer

New Jersey Institute of Technology has named David Jones as its first chief diversity officer, the school announced Monday.

Jones, a leading voice for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in higher education, will start Dec. 1.

At NJIT, Jones will assume a high-level, multifaceted role as the university strives to deepen diversity across all its ranks, foster belonging for students, faculty and staff on campus and earn the federal designation of being a Hispanic-serving institution, the school said.

Such initiatives flow from NJIT’s strategic plan, which seeks to redouble efforts to enroll women and underrepresented minority students, attract and retain diversity faculty and hire and promote diverse administrators.

Jones has a long history of work in the DEI space at New Jersey schools, having previously worked at Rutgers University – New Brunswick and William Paterson University.

NJIT President Teik Lim applauded the hire.

“David is ideally suited for this role, given his 15 years of experience as an administrator, educator and consultant in diversity, equity & inclusion,” he said. “I’m particularly struck by his energy and enthusiasm for creating an inclusive campus climate here in Newark in which every individual can thrive.”

NJIT’s DEIB initiatives encompass surveying, research, training and recruitment, with everything from college prep for Newark high school students and diversity leadership training for undergraduates to a management training partnership with McKinsey & Co., research into the online harassment of female and LGBTQ live streamers and now, a chief diversity officer.

Ultimately, the goal is to serve students, NJIT officials said.

Jones has a history of doing just that.

He joins NJIT from William Paterson, where he has been chief diversity officer since 2020.

On his watch, the university established scholarship opportunities for diverse students; developed a predoctoral fellowship program to improve faculty of color representation; launched a monthly Community Dialogue Series for faculty and staff; conducted workshops on unconscious bias, race and gender identity; issued a land acknowledgement statement; and created a Council for Equity and Justice, which Jones chaired.

Before William Paterson, Jones was director of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center at Rutgers in New Brunswick, where he oversaw a mentoring program for Black undergraduate students and earned the MLK Staff Service Award.

Jones also teaches DEI modules to senior leaders via the Equity Institute — a remote program at the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center — and has written about DEI issues in publications such as the Journal of Higher Education Management and the Journal of College Student Development.

Jones, who holds a Doctor of Education in organizational leadership and communication from Northeastern University, a Master of Education in college student affairs from the University of South Florida and a Bachelor of Science in communications from Eastern Connecticut State University, worked closely with students at the Robeson Cultural Center and, earlier, as director of residence life and student conduct at the City University of New York. Indeed, his career is rooted in student experience.

“My lived experiences have informed my career and life’s work,” he said. “I’m eager to blend those experiences as the chief diversity officer at NJIT.”