James W. Hughes was named University Professor in 2017 by the Board of Governors of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. As University Professor, he reports solely to the chief academic officer (Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs) of Rutgers and has the university-wide privilege of conducting research and educational activities across the disciplines and schools of his choice. This prestigious position follows his 22-year tenure (1995-2017) as the dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers.
As dean, he started with three small programs and created a nationally and internationally renowned planning and public policy school, comprising 18 major research centers and institutes, ten major academic degree programs, and a cadre of distinguished scholars, teachers, and researchers. The school's graduate planning program consistently ranked third in the nation during the past decade.
With few than 40 tenured faculty, the school's annual research expenditures reached $20 million per year. While its research and scholarship spanned both global and national domains, the school also acted as an applied research arm for many of New Jersey's state departments and agencies, focusing on such areas as housing, commercial real estate development, transportation, the economy, state fiscal forecasts, energy and utilities, multi-dimensional impact analysis, climate change, and sustainability. It also conducted substantial private sector sponsored research efforts.
Much of the school's success in both the public and private arenas were the result of the strong relationships developed by Dean Hughes not only with the state legislature, governor's office, and congressional delegation, but also with the corporate leadership of the state. During his deanship, he was often considered the most quoted person at Rutgers in the media. To date, he has been cited/quoted more than 425 times in The New York Times.
Dean Hughes is a nationally recognized expert on the economy, demographics, housing markets, and real estate development. He is author or co-author of 35 books and monographs and more than 150 articles. Among his books are The Atlantic City Gamble, published by the Harvard University Press and three published by the Rutgers University Press: America's Demographic Tapestry: Baselines for the New Millennium; New Jersey's Postsuburban Economy; and New Brunswick, New Jersey: The Decline and Revitalization of Urban America. Two additional books are currently under contract with the Rutgers Press. Previously, he was a contributing editor to the magazine American Demographics for 14 years and had been both a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and a Ford Foundation Fellow.
He continues to direct the Rutgers Regional Report (RRR), created in 1989 under his leadership and now located in the School of Engineering's Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT). RRR has produced more than 45 major economic, demographic, and market value reports on the broad multistate metropolitan region centered on New York City. He currently also serves as a member of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association's NJBIA Competitiveness Council, a member of the Advisory Forum of NAIOP-NJ (National Association of Industrial and Office Properties), and co-founding chair of the Coalition for Automated Road Transportation Safety (CARTS) located at Princeton University.
Previously, he was a member of the Board of Directors of the E'town Corporation (Elizabethtown Water Company), at the time the largest water utility in New Jersey (It was founded by the family of Governor Tom Kean in the nineteenth century). He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Cali Realty Corporation, a public real estate investment trust or REIT (After successive mergers, Cali Realty became part of the current Mack-Cali Real Estate Investment Trust, once the largest owner of office properties in New Jersey.). He was also a member of the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Housing Foundation in Washington, D.C.
Dean Hughes has provided extensive budgetary and economic testimony before many New Jersey State Legislative committees; he has also provided numerous policy briefings both in Washing, D.C. and Trenton, NJ on demographics and the economy. He has served on numerous commissions, boards, and task forces, including the NJ Governor'r Commission on Jobs, Growth, and Economic Development, the Economic Advisors Board of the Council of the City of New York, and the NJ Governor's World Class Economy Task Force, the NJ Governor's Property Tax Commission, and the Rockefeller Foundation's Transportation Task Force of the Hudson Basin Commission.
He maintains an extensive public speaking/external presentation schedule (approximately 30 per year). For example, every second year he provides the co-keynote address (along with rotating Federal Reserve Bank presidents) at the annual Economic Leadership Forum of the New Jersey Bankers Association (600 attendees). Also, every second year he lectures at the New Jersey Judiciary's annual Judicial College, an intensive two-day continuing education assumbly for all members of the state's Supreme and Superior Courts, organized by the Supreme Court Committee on Judicial Education and the Administrative Office of the Courts.
Prior to his deanship, he conducted research for, or consulted with, more than 35 organizations/clients, such as the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Goldman Sachs, New York City Housing and Development Administration, New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, Hartz-Mountain Industries, Jones Lang Wooten (now Jones Lang LaSalle), Olympia & York (builder of the World Financial Center in lower Manhattan and Canary Wharf in London), Cadillac Fairview, Bally Entertainment, Bristol-Myers Corporation (now Bristol-Myers Squibb), and Price Waterhouse (now PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC).
Dean Hughes was a 1965 graduate of the (then) Rutgers College of Engineering and was the last recipient of a baccalaureate degree in planning engineering. He then served in the US Army as an artillery officer. Dean Hughes returned to Rutgers and received the university's first conferred master's degree (MCRP) in city and regional planning (1969) and was subsequently awarded the university's first Ph.D. in urban planning and policy development (1971). He then joined the Rutgers faculty in 1971. Among his many subsequent career awards were the 2014 Medal of Excellence of Rutgers School of Engineering, the New Jersey Bankers' Award for Outstanding Commitment and Contributions to the Banking Industry, the Distinguished Public Service Award of the New Jersey State League of Municipalities, Distinguished National Fellow of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, and the Rutgers Presidential Award for Distinguished Public Service.