Antioch University Santa Barbara President Dr. Nancy Leffert to Retire

(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) – Dr. Nancy Leffert, president of Antioch University Santa Barbara, announced to the AUSB Board of Trustees that she would retire as president on June 30, 2016. The seven years that Dr. Leffert has been at AUSB’s helm have been marked by notable accomplishments, most visibly the renovation and repurposing of the building at Anacapa and Cota Streets into a stunning modern facility that became AUSB’s new campus. She also was responsible for the development of two important new programs, the MBA in Social Business & Non-Profit Management, and the Women & Leadership certificate program. Thanks to her stewardship, the university also will roll out its new MFA in Writing & Contemporary Media next fall. During Dr. Leffert’s tenure, AUSB was named a Hispanic Serving Institution and was awarded a federal Title III grant, $1.6 million to launch AUSB’s College-to-Career initiative. The program is intended to increase Latino students’ access to higher education. It focuses on undergraduate degree completion and career success of Latino students.

“Nancy Leffert was the right person at the right time for AUSB,” said board chair Victoria Riskin. “She infused the institution with excitement, direction, purpose, and academic integrity. She increased enrollment and the endowment, and raised significant scholarship funds. She made good on her promise to make higher education available for students who would otherwise miss out. Not only has Nancy been a highly effective president, she has been wonderful to work with. She will be sorely missed.”

Dr. Nancy Leffert has had a long and distinguished career in higher education and social service administration, and as a scholar, author, and speaker. An internationally recognized expert in the field of child and adolescent psychology, she created the Developmental Assets Framework that reshaped the dialogue around the development of healthy children and youth that is in use in over 500 communities across the country. After obtaining her BA and Master’s degrees from San Diego State University, she was awarded a PhD in Child Psychology from the renowned Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota.

“My years at Antioch University Santa Barbara have been the most significant and fulfilling of my professional life,” Dr. Leffert said. “I am honored to have had the opportunity to lead the campus during a challenging period for all colleges and universities, and yet despite those challenges, AUSB has experienced enormous growth in enrollment. That growth means that our focus on increasing access to higher education has been successful, and the collaborations and partnerships we have developed has resulted in new programs that are both relevant and responsive to the needs of students in our community. There is more I want to accomplish in the next nine months, but I will leave knowing that AUSB is thriving.”


About AUSB
Antioch University provides learner-centered education to empower thousands of students worldwide with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic and environmental justice. Antioch University Santa Barbara (AUSB), founded in 1977 as one of five nationwide locations—including Los Angeles, CA; Seattle, WA; New England (Keene, NH); and Midwest (Yellow Springs, OH)—provides both graduate degrees and bachelor’s completion programs at its thriving downtown campus. AUSB’s unique curriculum draws students from throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, South America, and Europe. Antioch University is a nonprofit, private, 501(c)3 organization and member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. To learn more, visit


Brian Dearth
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