Douglass Residential College

Douglass Residential College
Established 1918 (Degree-granting college); 2007 (residential college)
Dean Jacquelyn Litt
Students 2,500
Location New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA
Affiliations Institute for Women's Leadership

Douglass Residential College, located in New Brunswick, New Jersey, is a part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. It is a non-degree-granting organization which succeeded the liberal arts Douglass College (originally New Jersey College for Women) when it was merged with the other undergraduate liberal arts colleges at Rutgers–New Brunswick to form the School of Arts and Sciences in 2007.

Female students enrolled at academic undergraduate schools at Rutgers–New Brunswick, including the School of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, School of Pharmacy, Mason Gross School of the Arts, etc., may participate in Douglass Residential College, at which they must satisfy additional requirements specific to the college.


Douglass Through The Decades

1910 - 1919

New Jersey State Federation of Women's Clubs persuaded Mabel Smith Douglass to head a committee that would establish a women’s college as part of Rutgers University. Rutgers trustees agreed to the project, and the Federated Women’s Clubs raised funds to support it. In September 1918, the New Jersey College for Women opened its doors to 54 students.

1920 - 1929

The New Jersey College for Women grew rapidly during its first full decade of existence, establishing new academic departments, constructing five academic buildings and the Voorhees Chapel and opening of three residence campuses.

1930 - 1939

In this period, under Dean Margaret Trumbull Corwin, the harsh realities of the Great Depression stunted both growth in enrollment and construction of new facilities.

1940 - 1949

The decade opened with most of the college community actively supporting the allied cause in the World War II. With the war’s end and with the likelihood of greatly increased enrollments, Dean Corwin led the planning for a larger institution with new programs and facilities.

1950 - 1959

In 1955, the New Jersey College for Women became Douglass College, named in honor of its founder. Halfway through the decade, Dean Mary Ingraham Bunting moved into the Dean’s Home at 23 Nichol Avenue. She established new programs for summer research internships and college re-entry for mature women.

1960 - 1969

Dean Ruth Marie Adams oversaw the completion of the largest group of building projects in the college’s history: a library, the Neilson Campus residence and dining halls, the Gibbons residence complex and three new classroom buildings. She created the college’s first honors program and first program for economically disadvantaged students. The decade’s end saw the social upheavals of the civil and women's rights movement and the Vietnam War.

1970 - 1979

With Margery Somers Foster as dean, Douglass College discontinued its curfew, abolished the honor system, and reduced foreign language course offerings and faculty. During this decade, Douglass established the Women’s Studies Program for Rutgers University and resisted pressure to become coeducational. In the later years of the decade, following the conversion of the formerly all-male Rutgers College to coeducational status, Douglass experienced a temporary decline in the academic standing of the student body. However, Dean Jewel Plummer Cobb implemented the Douglass Scholars Program and new initiatives in student recruitment.

1980 - 1989

In 1981, the establishment of Faculty of Arts and Sciences in New Brunswick effectively ended the distinct Douglass College faculty. Dean Mary S. Hartman created the Douglass College Fellows and moved to restore strong liberal arts graduation requirements. Douglass joined the National Public Leadership Education Network (PLEN), initiated the Douglass Project for Rutgers Women in Math, Science and Engineering, and became the home of the Blanche, Edith and Irving Laurie New Jersey Chair in Women’s Studies.

1990 - 1999

In this decade, new opportunities included a certificate program in International Studies, residence in Bunting-Cobb Science and Math Residence Hall, a new mandatory "Shaping a Life" a course for all first-year students and the establishment of the Institute for Women’s Leadership.

2000 - 2010

Douglass began the new century with its ninth dean, Carmen Twillie Ambar, who oversaw such programs as the "Transitional Leadership for the Workforce," a teleconferencing course offered jointly with Ewha Women's University in Seoul, Korea, and the Global Village, a collection of special-interest houses.

In 2005, Rutgers University President Richard Levis McCormick unveiled plans to merge Douglass College with the University's other undergraduate liberal arts colleges at Rutgers–New Brunswick Rutgers College, Livingston College, Cook College, and University College to create the School of Arts and Sciences. The plans proved controversial, resulting in numerous open forums and town hall meetings.[1]

In 2007 the Douglass Residential College was formed, a residential college within Rutgers University, as the result of a compromise between those who wanted a complete merger and those who wanted the college to remain as a separate, degree-granting institution.[2][3][4]


In August 2010, Dr. Jacquelyn Litt was appointed as the 10th dean of Douglass and the first dean of the Douglass Residential College. She initiated a new Global Education Program, a Douglass Career Development Program, and a renewed focus on programs to support women in STEM fields, including a new residential learning community for first year women students enrolled in the School of Engineering.

Notable alumnae



  1. "Students Rally to Save Douglass" The Home News & Tribune September 2, 2005.
  2. Alaya, Ann M. "DOUGLASS ENTERS A NEW ERA", The Star-Ledger, July 11, 2007. "Starting this fall, Douglass will no longer award academic degrees but will continue to offer single-sex dormitories and women-only classes -- as part of a four-year, women-centered experience."
  3. Douglass Residential College. Accessed July 15, 2007.
  4. Board Approves Reorganization at Rutgers
  5. "Our Story"
  6. "Betty Cavanna Papers". de Grummond Children's Literature Collection. The University of Southern Mississippi. May 1994. Retrieved 2013-06-22. With biographical sketch.

External links

Coordinates: 40°29′02″N 74°26′06″W / 40.484°N 74.435°W / 40.484; -74.435

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