President, University of La Verne

Dr. Devorah Lieberman’s personal and professional life has been dedicated to three values and goals: educating and cultivating future leaders through higher education, promoting inclusivity among all while honoring diverse cultures, and leading by example with integrity. Lieberman has been able to cohesively blend her personal values with the mission of the University of La Verne as its 18th and first female President in the institution’s 123-year history. She brings over 30 years of higher education experience, scholarship, and leadership to the La Verne, California community. Since the beginning of her presidency, she has sought to actively contribute to the well-being of the university’s students, the scholarly activity of the faculty, the health of the surrounding community, and continuously advocates for engagement, inclusivity and respect among all.

Dr. Lieberman’s leadership philosophy, which thoroughly incorporates the mission of the University of La Verne, provides opportunities for students to achieve their personal goals, and to become successful professionals and contributing members of the global community through a student-centered, values-based, and diverse learning environment. Under her leadership, every student now participates in the La Verne Experience (LVE), a curriculum that connects theory to practice among all La Verne academic and co-curricular programs. Dr. Lieberman has promoted University-wide diversity and inclusivity efforts, including becoming a model interfaith campus, a goal that has been included in the University’s strategic vision.

President Lieberman strongly supports the academic integrity and quality of La Verne’s programs and faculty. The top initiative of the 2020 Strategic Vision is to achieve educational excellence, both in the curriculum and co-curriculum. Dr. Lieberman has an unwavering commitment to creating an environment in which La Verne’s faculty achieve their greatest potential as both professors and scholars. In May 2014, the Board of Trustees approved funds that will be dedicated to faculty members engaging current students in research projects, ensuring that La Verne’s professors continue professional development while continuing to deeply engage students.

In alignment with the university’s and her own personal values, she was named to the national Campus Compact Board of Directors in early 2013. The national organization is a coalition of over 1,100 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education and the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement. In January 2012, she was named to the American Council of Education’s (ACE) Commission on Inclusion and to the Resource Development Committee for the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities (HACU). She is currently serving on the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges & Universities, as well as community boards including Casa Colina Board of Directors, and Los Angeles County Fair Association Board.

During her 7.5 years (2004-2011) as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wagner College on Staten Island, New York, Lieberman led the strategic development of Civic Innovations, a multi-year effort for which the Corporation for National and Community Service provided significant funding.  This campus-wide initiative served to connect students with community-engaged activities to improve the lives of others. Throughout her administrative career, Lieberman has brought national recognition to the institutions with which she has been associated. This includes receiving the ACE “Bringing the World into the Classroom” award, the Washington Center “Higher Education Civic Engagement Award,” and the TIAA-CREF “Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Excellence.”

Lieberman’s personal honors include being one of 13 national scholars invited to participate in the three-year Project on the Future of Higher Education from 2002 through 2005; the 2000 Oregon Professor of the Year named by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; 1999 Distinguished Faculty Award presented by the Portland State Alumni Association;  and while chairing the statewide Board of Directors for the Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement (OCHA),  received OCHA’s 1995 Si Se Puede Award and its 1998 Amistad Award, as well as the 2003 Las Mujeres de la Raza Award from the Portland State students and the City of Portland.

Lieberman has a strong background in intercultural communication and diversity issues in higher education, publishing and co-authoring dozens of books and articles relating to diversity, institutional transformation and current issues affecting higher education including, “Successful Models and Practices” in the 2012 edition of Transforming Undergraduate Education: Theory that Compels and Practices that Succeed, and “Engaging a campus in effective intercultural and interracial communication initiatives” in Coming in from the Margins: Faculty Development’s Emerging Organizational Development Role in Institutional Change (2011). Lieberman has also presented and given keynote speeches at national and global conferences.  Her most recent publications have appeared in the Huffington Post addressing issues of higher education, diversity, and access to education.

Lieberman earned her bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies from Humboldt State University (’75), a master’s degree in Intercultural Communication from San Diego State University (’77), and a Ph.D. in Intercultural Communication and Gerontology from the University of Florida (’84).  Lieberman and her husband Roger Auerbach have been married 23 years and have two daughters, Alicea and Emery.