McGinty to oversee all administrative operations in new Rutgers job
Felicia McGinty stepped into her new position as executive vice chancellor of Administration and Planning in August, following five years of work as the vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
From managing spaces to information technology, McGinty will now oversee any and all administrative operations in her new role at Rutgers. Part of that includes community engagement in New Brunswick, such as her chairing the Paul Robeson Centennial Celebration Committee for the coming year.
“That’s the one I’ve had a lot of fun being part of, to acknowledge and spread awareness of such an important alumni of the school,” McGinty said. “It has allowed me to work with students and faculty, which is exactly what I want in this job.”
Robeson, the son of a former slave, who was born in Princeton, New Jersey in 1898, was the third Black student to attend Rutgers, and the first Black football player on the team, according to Rutgers Today.
The University held a celebration for the groundbreaking of the Paul Robeson Plaza at Voorhees Mall this semester.
McGinty said her years in Student Affairs helped her a lot in preparing for this job.
She was able to better understand the day-to-day life of a typical Rutgers student, as well as better understand their passions and the causes they care about, she said.
“On a weekly basis, I got to work with students' organizations and hear about their initiatives and efforts. I got to work with RUSA and have an advisory council,” McGinty said. “I learned a lot from students, about their experiences here at the University and their thoughts about how to improve their college experience. It was an awesome opportunity to serve in that role.”
McGinty was subject to criticism during her time in that role as well.
At the end of the spring semester, The Daily Targum reported that approximately 300 students had signed a petition asking her not to participate in 2018 Rites of Passage, a pre-commencement celebration in May to honor Black and Latinx students.
“Dr. McGinty’s participation in this ceremony is fundamentally hypocritical. (As she is) an administrator who has positioned herself as a barrier to the success of Black and Latinx students to attend that celebration,” said Anjanette Vaidya, former president of Rutgers Students With Children (RSWC) and co-author of the petition, to the Targum.
At a Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) meeting in February 2018, McGinty was questioned about Rutgers not properly disseminating information about resources available for students with children, and what Student Affairs is doing to improve its relationship, according to the Targum.
"After McGinty thanked the crowd members for their questions and addressed their concerns, students felt that the chancellor had not made enough of an effort in her responses and that she had dodged difficult questions," said Adeel Ahmed, co-president of RU Progressive at that time.
Taking over as vice chancellor for Student Affairs is Salvador Mena, who previously worked as senior associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs.
McGinty said she is confident in her successor.
“I have given him my best advice to always make time to connect with students, because that's why we are here, and it's why the role exists in the first place," she said. "You want to make sure to open time for students because that’s what really keeps up your spirit and keeps you moving. I also told him ‘Make sure you eat your Wheaties, because Rutgers students are busy.’”
Her new job came with a change of pace, she said, and Mena was nervous at first. But, she said she soon got comfortable in the new role.
“Everybody here has been really welcoming and supportive, and essentially, it's the same work but the constituent group has expanded,” McGinty said. “Instead of being the primary advocate for students, now I'm looking more broadly at the Rutgers experience for staff and faculty, to remove the barriers and make it easier (for them) to do their jobs at the school. It’s a heavy lift but I’m sure I’ll get there.”
Before coming to the University, McGinty worked at other schools, such as Penn State and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Rutgers remains her favorite place to work, she said.
“It’s the students that really makes this place special for me,” McGinty said. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with students who are tenacious and are well-balanced in their world view. I have no doubt that in 20 years that these students will be working all around the world and change every single industry.”