Brooklyn, NY—For Associate Dean of Student Affairs Jacqueline Williams, assisting others is part of her genetic makeup, so her new title is actually a logical blending of both old and new responsibilities at Brooklyn College.
After completing her Ph.D. in social psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center in 1985, Williams came to Brooklyn College as an executive assistant to then Vice-President of Student Affairs Hillary Gold, who retired in 1999. Williams kept her position and in 1998 began working closely with the newly appointed Dean of Student Affairs Milga Morales. In 2004, Williams officially became assistant dean in her own right.
“I love teaching,” she says, noting that she was a psychology instructor at Brooklyn College while she was a graduate student and that she has also taught at Rutgers and New York University. “But I never saw myself solely as an academic. I’m an applied social psychologist, and I want to be part of the changes society needs to better serve its members.”
A native of the South Bronx, Williams’s professional career includes working as jury selection consultant for defense lawyers. While she was finishing her doctorate, she also worked for the Victims Service Unit at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office under Liz Holtzman.
Today, as Associate Dean, Williams has added several new responsibilities to her already varied portfolio. In addition to the Information Booth, which she helped get started in 1996, the Peer Initiative, and Students Engaged in Responsible Volunteer Action, the volunteer program she also helped create in 1998, Williams is now responsible for professional counseling, the Health Clinic, and the newly obtained emergency loan funds.
“We just received $300,000 for three years from the Carroll and Milton Petrie Student Emergency Endowment Fund,” she explains. “It provides emergency cash grants to average students with short-term financial emergencies who would otherwise struggle to remain in school.
“I always tell students that they need to rise to the challenge of doing the job they want to do before they actually get it,” Williams says. Her career shows she practices what she preaches.