As Professor of History Emeritus at Rutgers University-Camden,  Gillette has specialized in modern U.S. history, with a special interest in urban and regional development.Currently he serves as co-editor of the online Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia.  His latest book, Class Divide: Yale ’64 and the Conflicted Legacy of the Sixties (2015), examines the diverging paths of a highly educated elite over a fifty year period and the subsequent implications for a divided nation.  His book,  Camden After the Fall: Decline and Renewal in a Post-Industrial City (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), received best book awards from the Urban History Association and the New Jersey Historical Commission. Previously he taught at George Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he continues to teach a course in Urban Studies. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in American Studies from Yale University.

Professor Gillette is immediate past director of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, a research and advocacy organization for bringing new intellectual and monetary resources to cultural practice in the humanities as it relates to the Mid-Atlantic states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. His work in public history has included a role as a founder and first director of the Center for Washington Area Studies at the George Washington University and as editor of Washington History, the journal of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. He is a past president of the Society for American City and Regional Planning History and a former board member of the Historical Society of Washington and the Camden County Historical Society. He is the author, among other works, of Between Justice and Beauty: Race, Planning, and the Failure of Urban Policy in Washington, D.C. (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), and Civitas by Design: Building Better Communities, from the Garden City to the New Urbanism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010).