Martha McDonald

2023-24 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellow
Dr. Martha McDonald is an experienced, transformational leader deeply committed to student success and reducing the achievement gap for minoritized students and low-income students. As the Vice President for Student Services at Irvine Valley College, a highly diverse public community college, she provides leadership and oversight to the Student Services division, as well as co-leads the College’s inaugural President’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility. As the Chief Student Services Officer, Dr. McDonald leads by centering student experience, and voices through equity-minded student-centered approaches.

Dr. McDonald has experience in teaching, counseling, and administration, and has served in a variety of roles in student services including vice president of student services, interim executive dean, dean of students, and director of the Extended Opportunities Programs and Services. As dean of students, she provided leadership for the development and implementation of the innovative and holistic Veterans Success Center, a model program in the state of California. She has developed a variety of programs focused on ensuring student access and success.

An accomplished veteran, Dr. McDonald served in the United States Marine Corps and she was the first woman to complete the Marine Corps Security Forces School. After graduating, became the first female instructor at the Marine Corps Security Forces School.

Dr. McDonald is an immigrant and the first in her family to attend college. She received a B.A. in psychology and M.A. in counseling from Chapman University. Dr. McDonald completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at California State University, Fullerton and published her dissertation, titled: Engagement of Community College Student Veterans: A Mixed Methods Study. She has completed the Association for California Community College Administrators Mentor Program, the National Community College Hispanic Council Leadership Fellows Program, and the Community College League of California Asilomar Leadership Skills Seminar for Women program.