DEVORAH A. LIEBERMAN, Ph.D.
President, University of La Verne
Dr. Devorah Lieberman, the University of La Verne’s 18th and first female president, brings more than 30 years of higher education experience, scholarship, and leadership to the campus. Since taking office in 2011, she has contributed to the well-being of the university’s students, the scholarly activity of the faculty, and the vitality of the surrounding community, while also advocating for engagement, inclusivity, and respect among all.
Lieberman is dedicated to three values: educating and cultivating future leaders, promoting inclusivity and diversity, and leading by example with integrity.
Under her leadership, the University of La Verne launched the La Verne Experience (LVE), a curriculum that connects theory to practice, fosters community and civic engagement, and reinforces connections between students and faculty. Through the LVE, students develop personally and professionally by working with community partners such as homeless shelters, retirement communities, school districts, and community gardens.
Lieberman has promoted countless university-wide diversity and inclusivity initiatives, which include helping the university to become a model interfaith campus, a recognition that was awarded by President Obama. In 2014, she spoke at the White House on this topic.
Additionally, Lieberman has led the university’s efforts to better serve underrepresented, low-income, and first-generation students. As a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), the University of La Verne’s student body reflects the diversity of Southern California.
From 2004 to 2011, Lieberman served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Wagner College in New York. There, she led the strategic development of Civic Innovations, a multi-year effort that served to connect students with community engagement activities.
Throughout her career, she 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.”
She was named President of the Year in 2015 by the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) for supporting an inclusive and engaged campus community. She is one of 13 national scholars invited to participate in the Project on the Future of Higher Education; she was named the 2000 Oregon Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching; and she received the 1999 Distinguished Faculty Award from the Portland State Alumni Association. While chairing the statewide Board of Directors for the Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement (OCHA), Lieberman 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 was named to the national Campus Compact Board of Directors in 2013. In 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, and is involved with the American Jewish Committee Los Angeles chapter, as well as community boards including Casa Colina Board of Directors and Los Angeles County Fair Association Board.
Lieberman’s expertise includes intercultural communication and diversity issues in higher education. She has published and co-authoring dozens of books and articles relating to diversity, institutional transformation, and issues affecting higher education. They include “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). She is a contributor to the Huffington Post and writes articles for higher education publications addressing diversity and access to education. Lieberman has also presented and given keynote speeches at national and global conferences.
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). She and her husband Roger Auerbach have two daughters, Alicea and Emery.