Freehold Campus Dean, Brookdale Community College
Lincroft, New Jersey
Office Representing: Provost/Dean's Office
Yesenia Madas is the senior officer of the Freehold campus at Brookdale Community College. In this role, Madas is responsible for designing and implementing programs that foster college growth and ensure financial security. She oversees the financial, administrative, and operational affairs of the campus, and raises issues of policy, procedure, financial, and operation issues to the president's executive leadership team. In her former role as the executive director of the New Jersey Center for Student Success, Madas was responsible for providing direction and leadership to achieve the mission, strategy, goals, and objectives of the Center. She worked closely with New Jersey's 19 community colleges to support statewide student success efforts. Prior to that, she served as an associate professor in the counseling department at Brookdale Community College providing students with academic, career, financial, and personal counseling, and also teaching college success courses.
How did you first get interested in or involved in higher education issues?
"Issues of access and affordability have always been important to me," Madas said. "Several years ago, I was given a two-year release from my institution to serve as the first executive director of the New Jersey Center for Student Success. This position allowed me to engage in policy work. I was working on higher education issues in New Jersey but also nationally as part of a network that has now grown to 14 states with Centers for Student Success. Through this role, I witnessed just how important it is to work at the policy level. In addition, I was able to bring the student voice forward which was often missing in those conversations. I had several opportunities to engage with political leaders and was surprised by the disconnect between policy and practice. I also thoroughly enjoyed the advocacy role in this work. Anything we can do to improve student success and advance the completion agenda gets me very excited. It motivates me to continue to get involved and to do more."
Why did you apply to be a part of the Forward50? What drew you to this opportunity?
"I am passionate about student success," Madas said. "For over 10 years I worked directly with students providing them with academic, career, financial, and personal counseling, and taught college success. I worked for an opportunity program that served low-income students. As a first-generation student myself, I feel personally connected to this population of students. I want to remove any barriers to student success. Our students are facing such extraordinary challenges. Additionally, our higher education landscape is changing. We are seeing declining funding coupled with declining enrollment as our expenses continue to grow. The chance to be a part of the Forward50 to discuss and tackle issues of access, affordability, transparency and accountability was an opportunity I did not want to miss. I knew if selected it would allow me to reconnect to this important conversation. I am excited about this work and thoroughly look forward to getting started."
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