Duane A. Williams, Ph.D.
Duane A. Williams, Ph.D., is the Director for the Office of Student Belonging at Montclair State University in New Jersey. In his role he spearheads a broad range of programs and activities that foster a strong connection to the university for students who are freshmen, transfers, international, first-generation and/or military-affiliated. Dr. Williams oversees a variety of initiatives that recognizes and supports the unique needs of students in relation to their immediate and long-term educational and personal goals. He is responsible for providing a comprehensive model that helps students develop a strong sense of belonging as they enter the university.
Prior to Montclair State University, Dr Williams had served as a Director in the Center for Advisement and Student Success at Hudson County Community College, New Jersey. There, he was able to develop a comprehensive understanding for the non-traditional and first-generation student population. Being a first-generation student himself, Dr. Williams has enjoyed working on initiatives that directly and indirectly affect the success and retention of students during their college years.
With a formal background in management and public administration, Dr. Williams has utilized his organizational leadership skills to support and create policies and practices that affect student development and ultimately, student success. Dr. Williams earned his Ph.D. in Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University. His research interests include a focus on first-generation students and professionals, their lived experiences, family relationships, identity development, and upward mobility, within Black and minoritized communities. His dissertation is entitled Black First-Generation Professionals – Leaders That You never Hear of Before: An Exploratory Study of Lived Experiences.