Dr. Felix “Phil” Linfante has provided a lifetime of service to New Jersey’s community college sector. He currently serves as a professor of Social Sciences at Essex County College, teaching Psychology, Sociology, and Education. During his thirty-five-year tenure at the college, he spent many years in administration as the Dean of Educational Services and Executive Dean of Student Success. He is also an adjunct professor at the College of St. Elizabeth, teaching courses in the Doctoral Program in Higher Education Leadership. Dr. Linfante is a licensed therapist through the New Jersey Board of Marriage and Family Therapy, certified as an Approved Clinical Supervisor (ASC) and a Certified Trauma Treatment Specialist. He also is certified in Change Intelligence (CQ).
Dr. Linfante is a steadfast leader through his community involvement. Previously he served as Chair of the Warren County Community College Board of Trustees and served for three-years as the Chair of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC). In addition, he was previously elected to the Belleville Board of Education and he served as president of the Board for 2 years. He also served as the co-chair of the NJCCC State and Federal Legislative Committee.
An active member of ACCT, Dr. Linfante served on ACCT’s Education and Communication Committee, and on the Public Policy and Advocacy Committee. He has presented numerous times at ACCT Leadership Congresses on topics including: The Importance of Board Retreats, Board Leadership, No Confidence Votes, Textbook Cost Saving Measures, Accreditation, Implementing a Reform Agenda. He received the 2020 Northeast Region ACCT Trustee Leadership Award.
Dr. Linfante has provided workshops at the NJCCC Best Practices conference, and was a member of a NJCCC committee to develop the strategic plan for the Council.
As chair of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, Dr. Linfante created the Trustee Spotlight Award, recognizing a local trustee who has been a tremendous advocate to the local community college. He has also traveled throughout the state attending almost all-local Community College Board of Trustee meetings and speaking about the importance of community colleges locally, statewide, and nationally. Dr. Linfante has also conducted workshops at three NJ community college retreats emphasizing the need to advocate and work closely with state legislators in providing the needed support for community colleges.
During his tenure as statewide chair, Dr. Linfante led the sector in advocating for the successful passage of the Community College Opportunity Grant, and establishing free tuition to many students attending community college. In 2021, Dr. Linfante advocated and succeeded in obtaining the first increase in operating funds for county colleges in thirteen years. Dr. Linfante created the statewide sector Racial and Social Justice Committee, the Student/Alumni Committee, and helped transition the Council into a proactive, inclusive organization with a legislative agenda.
While serving as Chair of the Warren County Community College, Dr. Linfante participated in the Middle States Accreditation visit in 2017 and zero recommendations were cited for the college. During his tenure as chair, the college was recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education as New Jersey’s #1 College for Student Success, the 11th Best College for Student Success in the US, ranked #1 Community College New Jersey Nursing Program by the Nursing School Alliance, and ranked the 20th safest community college in the US by Campus Safety. Also, during his tenure on the WCCC Board of Trustees, the college reached a 46% graduation rate, as well as record retention rates, while simultaneously radically reducing remediation and credits to degree.
Dr. Linfante’s professional affiliations throughout the state and recognitions include New Jersey Council of Community Colleges, Association of Community College Trustees, and the New Jersey Education Association. He received the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society’s Distinguished College Administrator Award in 2014. Dr. Linfante also received the statewide EOF Circle of Influence Award in 2012. For each of the past three years, Dr. Linfante was named by NJBIZ, New Jersey’s Leading Business Journal, as a member of its Annual Education Power 50 List, the most influential individuals shaping Education in New Jersey.
Dr. Linfante holds a Ph.D. from Seton Hall University in Higher Education Administration and Supervision, an MA in Counseling from Kean University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Rutgers University where he also received his public school teaching certification.
Dr. Linfante is married to Maria DiGiovanni, former Mayor of Hackettstown, and is the proud grandfather of Nicholas, Luke, John, and Evangeline.