Dr. Richard De Lisi’s Commitment to Advancing Excellence and Equity in Education at Rutgers GSE

University Professor Emeritus Richard De Lisi, a former dean of the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, still speaks passionately about the GSE’s mission for advancing excellence and equity in education.Dr. De Lisi received his master’s and doctorate degrees in developmental psychology from The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., and his bachelor’s degree in psychology and mathematics from SUNY Buffalo. Dr. De Lisi’s career as a faculty member in the GSE began in 1976. He served as chair of the department of educational psychology, and as the first graduate program director for the Ph.D. in education and the Ph.D. in higher education programs. Dr. De Lisi’s service as dean of the GSE spanned 2003-2014.

Richard De Lisi

“When Richard became dean, he transformed our reputation as an academic unit both within Rutgers and in the broader educational research community. Under his leadership, Richard made sure that we would recruit and retain some of the best up and coming scholars in their fields. He worked diligently and strategically to ensure that our track record of tenured faculty improved exponentially,” said GSE Professor Sharon Ryan.

“As dean, Richard had a significant impact on the GSE’s doctoral offerings. We developed the new Ed.D program, a new Ph.D. in higher education program, and expanded our Ph.D. in education program under Richard’s leadership and encouragement,” said GSE’s Associate Dean Dr. Clark Chinn. “Prior to becoming dean, Richard was my faculty mentor when I was an assistant professor. He was a terrific mentor. His advice steered me in the direction of applying for grants that have helped shape my research trajectory until today.”

As dean, Dr. De Lisi supported initiatives to create research and teaching partnerships with other units of the university in mathematics, science, and dance education.  During his deanship, GSE’s teacher education and school counseling programs attained national accreditation for the first time. GSE developed its first online master’s degree programs while De Lisi was dean. Under his leadership, GSE significantly increased the diversity of its faculty and staff members, and expanded or created centers and institutes to partner with and support PK-12 schools. GSE adopted  Advancing Excellence and Equity in Education as the school’s central theme when Dr. De Lisi was dean.

According to Dr. De Lisi, “When I started in 2003, President Richard McCormick was unsure that an internal candidate could advance the Graduate School of Education. Our community had to demonstrate that we were an outstanding professional school that could contribute to Rutgers’ striving towards excellence. The guidance and support of EVPAA Phil Furmanski was greatly appreciated as GSE and Rutgers negotiated state budget cuts and increasing demands for accountability. Throughout my term as dean, the tireless dedication and support of GSE’s staff and faculty leadership were critical to our accomplishments, especially those that benefitted GSE’s outstanding student body.”

Dr. De Lisi retired at the end of the 2019 calendar year. He is a senior fellow at the Rutgers Center for Organizational Leadership and continues to work with colleagues Brent Ruben and Ralph Gigliotti in pursuit of improving leadership in higher education. A second edition of their book, A Guide for Leaders in Higher Education: Core Concepts, Competencies, and Tools is scheduled for release in Fall 2021.

Dr. De Lisi has relocated to Atlanta, GA but stills summers on Long Beach Island, NJ. In their blended family, Richard and his wife, Anne Glaser (Business, ’86), have four sons, one daughter, four daughters-in-law, and one son-in-law. Richard and Anne have been blessed with nine grandchildren. Dr. De Lisi is active in GA politics, loves travel, riding his road bike, and has taken up still photography as a hobby.