News & Events / IHEP Welcomes New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges to Board of Directors

IHEP Welcomes New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges to Board of Directors

Washington, DC (December 15, 2023)  New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education Brian Bridges,Ph.D., is the newest member of the Institute for Higher Education Policy’s (IHEP) Board of Directors. Dr. Bridges brings decades of experience advancing equity in postsecondary education and economic mobility for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students and students living with low incomes.

“Dr. Bridges is an innovative and inspiring leader, and on behalf of the entire Board of Directors, I warmly welcome him to our team of leaders who are deeply committed to advancing more equitable postsecondary access and outcomes,” said IHEP Board Chairperson Dr. Peter Nwosu. “Dr. Bridges’ expertise in areas including student engagement, learning environments at minority-serving institutions, and evidence-based strategies for student success will be an invaluable asset to the IHEP team.” 

Prior to this appointment as New Jersey’s Secretary of Higher Education in 2020, Dr. Bridges was vice president of research and member engagement at the United Negro College Fund. He has also held leadership positions at Ohio University, the American Council on Education, and the National Survey of Student Engagement. 

Dr. Bridges’ collaboration with IHEP dates back to his involvement with the Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students project, which helped more than 100 of the nation’s minority-serving institutions build capacity to better collect and use data to inform institutional improvement and student success. He also served on the Postsecondary Value Commission, a group of higher education experts and national leaders brought together to examine, explore, and define the value of postsecondary education. 

As New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, Dr. Bridges’ leadership has ushered through the revision of the state’s outcome-based funding formula to place stronger emphasis on closing equity gaps at public colleges and universities. Under his leadership the State also completed an affordable and tuition-free pathway to a two and four-year degree through its College Promise programs and distributed nearly $400 million in grant funds to meet institutional capital infrastructure needs. Additionally, the state has undertaken efforts to reengage students who stopped out of college to return, persist, and complete their postsecondary degree or credential. 

IHEP’s Board of Directors ensures the financial health of the organization and establishes policies that further IHEP’s growing research, advocacy, and programmatic portfolio. IHEP’s newly refreshed policy priorities will guide the organization’s research, advocacy and field engagement to drive equitable outcomes, regardless of a students’ race, income, or background. 

Two long-serving board members, Jacob Fraire, president of the ECMC Foundation, and Laura Cronin, senior associate at Booz Allen Hamilton, have concluded their terms of service on the board. Both Fraire and Cronin joined IHEP in 2017, and Fraire served as board chairperson from 2020 until 2022.   

“We are deeply grateful to Laura and Jacob for their years of service to this organization,” said IHEP President and CEO Mamie Voight. “Laura offered invaluable business insights during pivotal organizational transitions, and Jacob served as a personal mentor and support to me as I transitioned into the IHEP presidency. Both leaders’ strategic vision, dedication, and expertise have helped IHEP further its mission and set the organization on a strong course for future success.” 

Photos courtesy Edwin J. Torres, New Jersey Governor’s Office.