Report: Murphy to select UNCF exec Bridges as next secretary of higher education

Brian Bridges, vice president of research and member engagement at the United Negro College Fund, is Gov. Phil Murphy’s selection to be the next state secretary of higher education, according to a published report.

There was no word on the selection from the administration, but Murphy’s public schedule for Friday lists “an announcement” at Rutgers University at 11 a.m.

The news of Bridges’ selection was first reported Thursday by Carly Sitrin of Politico.

According to his bio on the UNCF website, Bridges leads the UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute and the Institute for Capacity Building. He serves as UNCF’s chief research officer, principal editor and contributor for FDPRI’s publications and the manager of internal and external projects involving capacity building, evaluation and assessment. Bridges also leads the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative, a project funded by the Lilly Endowment, to improve job placement outcomes at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions.

Prior to joining UNCF, Bridges was vice provost for diversity, access and equity at Ohio University. He was associate director of the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity at the American Council on Education and held various roles, including associate director, at the National Survey of Student Engagement.

While at NSEE, he managed a million-dollar subcontract for the Building Engagement and Attainment of Minority Students project, a national initiative funded by Lumina Foundation to assist minority-serving institutions’ use of NSSE results for institutional improvement. In addition, he has served on numerous panels and advisory committees on issues related to HBCUs, learning environments at minority-serving institutions and success factors for African American college students at predominantly white institutions.

Bridges earned his doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Indiana, a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and a bachelor’s degree from Francis Marion University.