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Equity. Access. Excellence.

Martha Ellis PhotoPhone: 512.232.2261

Dana Center Role

As director of higher education strategy, policy, and services, Martha spearheads the Center’s strategic planning for the Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (formerly the New Mathways Project), an initiative to modernize entry-level college mathematics programs through working with states, universities, and colleges. The DCMP continues to enjoy unprecedented growth and rises to the challenge of meeting the increasing demands within Texas and across the nation.

As a collaborative effort to increase student success rates, the DCMP involves the efforts of many across all levels of the system. The initiative is ambitious and requires long-term commitment to continuous improvement in pursuit of an excellent and equitable mathematics education for all students. Martha’s experience as a former college president and leadership coach for Achieving the Dream is serving the Center well in leading this work.

In this role, Martha works with external and internal stakeholders to advance the project’s mission and vision. She ensures student success across the educational ecosystem with seamless transfer and applicability. Martha facilitates conversations with institutional and system leaders to scale mathematics pathways to student credential attainment leading to viable careers.

Before Joining the Dana Center

Martha came to the Dana Center from to the Roueche Graduate Center at the National American University, where she served as the vice president/dean of graduate faculty and professor. She provided leadership for graduate faculty in course development, professional development, teaching, and dissertation committee assignments. In addition, Martha taught doctoral courses, oversaw practicums, and chaired dissertation committees in the Community College Leadership program.

Before joining National American University, Martha was associate vice chancellor for community college partnerships for the University of Texas System, providing leadership for academic affairs issues for 9 universities and 225,000 students. In this role, she addressed state policy issues negatively impacting seamless transfer for students and institutions of higher education and developed and implemented new models for student completion.

Martha has also served as president of Lee College (Baytown, Texas) and Texas State Technical College (Waco, Texas).


Ph.D., Higher Education Administration and Research, University of North Texas

M.S., Developmental Cognitive Psychology, University of Texas at Dallas

B.A., Religion and Music, American Christian College

Selected Publications

Ellis, M. M., & Garcia, L. (2017). Generation X presidents leading community colleges: New challenges, new leaders. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Ellis, M. (2016, April 27). Reimagining college rankings: What information do students truly need? The EvoLLLution: A Destiny Solutions Illumination. Retrieved from

Ellis, M. (2015, May 5). Greater student understanding central to overcoming challenges facing graduate education. The EvoLLLution: A Destiny Solutions Illumination. Retrieved from

Ellis, M. (2013, December 23). Clearing barriers, navigating detours: Texas students chart paths to successful transfers. Community College Week. Retrieved from,-navigating-detours:texas-students-chart-paths-to-successful-transfers.html

Ellis, M. (2013). Successful community college transfer students speak. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 37(2), 73–84.

Selected Presentations

Leadership for math pathways redesign. Presented at the Board of Trustees Institute, Santa Fe, NM (March 2018).

Math pathways redesign. Presented at the American Association of Community Colleges annual convention, Chicago, IL (April 2016).

Preparation pathways for leadership. Presented at the Innovations conference, League for Innovation in the Community College, Boston, MA (March 2015).

Leadership in developing a culture of evidence. Presented at DREAM 2015, Baltimore, MD (February 2015).

Selected Recent Appointments, Panels, and Advisory Boards

Member, Advisory Committee, Texas Student Success Council, 2012–present

Member, Advisory Committee, American Honors Program, 2012–present

Leadership Coach, Achieving the Dream, 2009–present

Interim Chief Executive Officer and President, Texas Association of Community Colleges, 2015–2016

Coach, High Performance Team Training, American Association of Community Colleges, 2014 and 2015

Member, Council on Data Analysis, Achieving the Dream, 2014

Member, Managing Board, New Mathways Project, 2012–2014

Professional Memberships

American Association of Community Colleges

American Psychological Association

New York Academy of Sciences