University of La Verne Appoints New Dean of Regional and Online Campuses

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The University of La Verne has selected Dr. David Smith, a veteran in higher education administration, to serve as the new Dean of Regional and Online Campuses (ROC).

Dr. David Smith

“Dr. Smith comes to us with substantial experience that demonstrates his dedication to undergraduate programs, as well as non-traditional and adult programs in the classroom and online.” - University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman.

The University of La Verne has selected Dr. David Smith, a veteran in higher education administration, to serve as the new Dean of Regional and Online Campuses (ROC).

Smith, who most recently worked as Vice President of Instruction and Student Affairs at Colorado Northwestern Community College, is set to start at La Verne on Sept. 14. He will replace Dean Stephen Lesniak, who is retiring from his position after serving the University 39 years, including nine heading ROC.

“Dr. Smith’s interview and references painted a clear picture that he has the right skills, vision, and strength of character to build on the success of Dean Lesniak,” said University of La Verne Provost Jonathan Reed.

Smith will take the helm of eight regional campuses stretching from Bakersfield to Irvine and Vandenberg Air Force Base to Victorville. He will also lead La Verne's Campus Accelerated Program for Adults (CAPA), La Verne Online, and the Center for Educators, which provides teacher education and graduate education programs throughout Central and Southern California.

“Dr. Smith comes to us with substantial experience that demonstrates his dedication to undergraduate programs, as well as non-traditional and adult programs in the classroom and online,” said University of La Verne President Devorah Lieberman. “We are pleased to welcome him to La Verne.”

Dr. Smith had served as chief instructional and student services officer at Colorado Northwestern since 2008, overseeing faculty hiring, course development, accreditation and other areas. He worked as Chief Administrative Officer and Interim President at Lamar Community College in Colorado from 2003 to 2008, where he led student services, instruction and development. While at Columbia College in Missouri from 2000 to 2003, he founded two satellite campuses.

“La Verne needed a strong leader for Regional and Online Campuses, a champion for adult and graduate students regardless of their age, location and schedule,” said Vice President of Strategic Enrollment Management and Communication Dr. Homa Shabahang. “Dr. Smith’s experience shows he is that leader.”

The incoming Dean expressed excitement about assuming his new role, saying he realized exactly how attractive the position was once he toured the campus and met faculty and staff.

“The regional and online programs extend the ‘La Verne Experience’ to a broad population of working adult and military students, a population for which I feel a special affinity,” Dr. Smith said. “The prospect of succeeding such an accomplished and long-serving dean as Steve Lesniak is daunting, but I can’t wait to get started.”

Dr. Smith holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Denver, a master’s degree in creative writing from California State University Fresno, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Cal State Fresno. He has often served as an English instructor at the universities and colleges where he has served as an administrator.

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Melissa Pinion
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