Dr. Barbara-Jayne Lewthwaite, recently appointed President of Centenary College in Hackettstown, N.J., is a perfect fit for her role as leader of the 143-year-old private college. Having been a member of the faculty and Chief Academic Officer prior to this appointment, she has a unique understanding of the needs of the college community. She has been part of the expansion of an institution that has experienced much growth in recent years. Today, Centenary College has a 19-building campus on 42 acres, an Equestrian Center with seven buildings on 65 acres, and the Centenary Adult and Professional Studies (CAPS) learning centers in Parsippany and MetroPark, New Jersey.
Aware of the 20-year evolution of the college from an all-female student body to one that is coeducational and global in nature, she daily is faced with challenges from cost containment to keeping the college up to date in class offerings , as well as implementing and integrating online education into the program.
In 2003, Centenary became the first totally wireless campus in New Jersey. Faculty and students are transforming their learning experiences to take their education well beyond the boundaries of any campus classroom.
Dr. Lewthwaite has given much consideration to creative approaches to cost containment, so that Centenary can continue to provide access to higher education to all those the College serves and who need the education that Centenary provides.
She also recognizes the challenges of being part of the global community. Centenary encourages students to experience international study and has offerings in multiple countries.
Before joining the ranks of academia, Dr. Lewthwaite held high-powered corporate positions, which have proven to be an asset in her capacity as college president.
She did not intentionally plan a career path that would lead to becoming a college president. However, she made career decisions that prepared her for this leadership role. Her advice to women is watch for opportunity and do not be afraid to push your comfort zone.
Assuming a position as college president requires strong organizational skills as well as “people skills.” The ability to communicate with many faculty and staff, as well as a student body and other community connections requires a level of confidence that inspires trust in decision making.
Centenary is the primary educational and cultural resource for northwest New Jersey, offering a range of undergraduate, graduate and professional programs as well as non-degree courses for professional and personal development. The Centenary College website is www.centenary college.edu.