Dr. Nancy Leffert, President of Antioch University Santa Barbara, is a nationally known scholar of child and adolescent development. She is particularly well known for her work as author of the Developmental Assets Framework, a paradigm of positive youth development that delineates factors contributing to the healthy development of children and adolescents and that is widely used and cited. The 40 internal and external positive features in the lives of children and youth that make up the Developmental Assets Framework have been demonstrated repeatedly to contribute to the reduction of risk behaviors and the enhancement of thriving among children and youth. Currently in use in over 500 communities across the country, the scientific work that contributed to the creation of the Developmental Assets Framework has been used to create tools that assist communities in mobilizing around raising healthy children and adolescents.
Frequently invited to give nationwide scientific keynote and community presentations, Dr. Leffert has an established reputation as a national expert on adolescent development, scholar, speaker, and consultant. Her work created the broad-based Healthy Communities • Healthy Youth movement that has contributed to re-shaping the national dialogue and manner in which we approach adolescent development, prevention, and education. Dr. Leffert is the author of numerous scientific books and articles, books and training materials for parents and youth development professionals and others who work with children and youth.
Dr. Leffert received her BA and Master’s Degree in Social Work from San Diego State University and her PhD in Child Psychology from the renowned Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. With more than 35 years of experience in higher education and social service administration, her experience has included administrative positions at non-profit social service agencies that provide family life education and treatment of learning problems among children and youth as well as public and private institutions of higher education. Dr. Leffert became president of Antioch University Santa Barbara in 2009.
As a community leader on the South Coast, Dr. Leffert serves non-profit organizations focusing on social responsibility and civic engagement and continues her work to promote the healthy development of young people in our community and increasing access to higher education.