NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J.– James W. Hughes, who is stepping down as dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy after 22 years, was named a University Professor by the Rutgers University Board of Governors.
A nationally known expert on demographics, housing and regional economics and a prolific author of books and articles, Hughes will continue his teaching and scholarly pursuits at Rutgers. As a University Professor, he will have the universitywide privilege of teaching and conducting research and educational activities across disciplines and schools.
As dean, Hughes helped elevate the Bloustein School into a leading center of public policy and planning, addressing crucial urban planning, public health and public policy issues through academic research and preparing future leaders in the field.“I am most proud that we took three small programs in 1992 and created a nationally and internationally known planning and public policy school, comprising 18 major research centers and institutions, nine major academic degree programs, and a cadre of distinguished scholars, teachers, and researchers,” Hughes said.
As director of the Rutgers Regional Report, which has produced over 40 major economic, demographic, and real estate studies on New Jersey and the broader metropolitan region, Hughes plans to begin releasing a refreshed, redesigned report in July. He also will continue to comment on New Jersey’s economic trends in the media and at speaking engagements – one of his favorite parts of his job.
“Interacting with the media, public policy makers and residents about crucial issues is rewarding and enjoyable,” Hughes said, noting he plans to continue applying academic and applied demographic and economic research to help inform the state's most important conversations about planning and public policy issues. “That has been the focal point of my career and it will continue to be.”
For the 2017-2018 academic year, Hughes will be on research leave to work on a book about New Jersey’s population and demographics, a companion volume to the book, New Jersey’s Postsuburban Economy, published with Joseph Seneca, a Bloustein professor emeritus.
He will return to full-time faculty and research duties the following year, with offices in the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and in the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation at Rutgers (CAIT). “I plan to participate in research activities at CAIT and the Heldrich Center,” he said.
Hughes joined the Rutgers faculty in 1971 and became dean of the Bloustein School in 1995. He has provided extensive budgetary and economic testimony before many New Jersey state legislative committees, and has given numerous policy briefings both in Washington, D.C., and Trenton on demographics, housing and the economy. He has served on numerous New Jersey commissions and task forces, including the Governor’s Commission on Jobs, Growth and Economic Development; the Governor’s World Class Economy Task Force; and the Governor’s Property Tax Commission; and was appointed to the Economic Advisors Board of the Council of the City of New York.
"Jim has been a valued leader at Rutgers and a trusted voice on economic and planning trends across New Jersey for decades," said Richard L. Edwards, chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick. "We are grateful he will continue his important scholarly work as a University Professor."
Among Hughes' awards are the 2014 Distinguished Service Award of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities; the Rutgers School of Engineering 2014 Medal of Excellence; the Warren Hill Award of the New Jersey Bankers Association; the Rutgers Richard P. McCormick Award for Excellence in Alumni Leadership; the Cary Edwards Leadership Award by New Jersey Future; the Rutgers Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service; the Distinguished Service Award and the Lifetime Achievement and Leadership in Planning Award of the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association. The chapter also established a new planning award recognizing and celebrating Hughes’ legacy: the James W. Hughes Applied Research Award. Hughes has been both a Woodrow Wilson and Ford Foundation Fellow and was a Distinguished Fellow of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties.