Dr. Nancy Leffert Named President of Antioch University Santa Barbara

Dr. Nancy Leffert has been selected as president of Antioch University Santa Barbara announced Antioch University Chancellor Dr. Tullisse Murdock. Dr. Leffert, who holds a PhD in child psychology from the University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development, previously served as provost and chief executive officer of AUSB. As president she will guide the growth of the Santa Barbara campus as it responds to the educational needs of Santa Barbara, the surrounding area students, and the 21st century.  The Santa Barbara campus is one of five campuses in the distinguished Antioch University system.

“Dr. Leffert was unanimously selected by the Antioch University Santa Barbara Board of Trustees to become the new President,” said Victoria Riskin, chair of the AUSB Board of Trustees, noting Leffert’s 35 years of experience in social service and higher education administration. “The Trustees cited her impressive academic background, dynamic energy and passionate commitment to the growth of our campus in pledging their full and enthusiastic support.”

Chancellor Murdock added that “the university as a whole recognizes that over the past year, a strong foundation for the growth of the AUSB campus has taken place under the leadership of Dr. Leffert.  AUSB is now poised to become a major leader in higher education in the Southern California region, and beyond.”

AUSB’s mission and institutional goals include promoting innovative experiential learning and socially engaged citizenship, and ensuring students graduate with a renewed sense of their purpose as scholars and citizens.

“We are extremely fortunate to have as our new president such a warm and caring individual who brings to her new position outstanding academic credentials, polished administrative skills, and a strong commitment to our mission and institutional goals. Our future looks bright!” noted Richard Whitney, Executive Dean of Institutional Research at AUSB.

Most recently, prior to joining AUSB as its top administrator, Dr. Leffert was the Associate Dean for Student Services and Program Evaluation in the School of Psychology at Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara. She is a nationally-known scholar of adolescent development, known particularly for her work delineating factors that contribute to the positive development of young people. One aspect of this work was the creation of the Developmental Assets framework, which is currently used across the country in over 500 communities as a tool to help mobilize around raising healthy children and adolescents. In addition to her lengthy list of published books and scientific articles, Dr. Leffert has authored many reports and technical manuals, and has frequently been invited to give scholarly and community presentations.

Antioch University serves more than 4,000 adult students around the world and across the country, online and at its five campuses in four states. Each campus offers degree programs that meet—and often anticipate—the pressing needs of its region and the wider world. The University is also home to the landmark PhD in Leadership and Change; Antioch Education Abroad, an exceptional opportunity of immersive service and study programs; and WYSO, a leading public radio affiliate and an essential source of global news and opinion.

The Santa Barbara campus is particularly distinguished with its unique undergraduate degree completion program in liberal studies and graduate master’s and doctoral programs in clinical psychology and education that integrate students’ academic experience and experiential learning. Additionally, students in all of AUSB’s programs can specialize in relevant and applied specialized concentrations.

Photograph by Roe Anne White