In the summer of 2020, after a nationwide search, the Linn-Benton Community College Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the hiring of Dr. Lisa Avery as its seventh president. Dr. Avery began her new position on July 1st, replacing Dr. Greg Hamann who served as LBCC president for 10 years before retiring.
Dr. Avery previously served as the president of Portland Community College’s Sylvania Campus since 2015. In that role, she was responsible for leading PCC’s largest and oldest campus, which is home to nearly 27,000 students and approximately 1,300 employees. At PCC, Dr. Avery was an advocate for equitable student success, increased student access, sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion. Sylvania’s academic programs include Nursing, Engineering, Business, Dental Hygiene, and Automotive Technology, as well as a new Center of Excellence in Cybersecurity. Sylvania’s budget is approximately $94 million in state funding with additional bond support; the campus includes 14 buildings, including a cutting-edge MakerSpace, and approximately 1,000,000 square feet of facilities on a 122-acre campus. During her PCC tenure, Avery’s advocacy for Oregon’s community colleges included testimony on the Community College Support Fund, Applied Baccalaureate Programs, the Community College Transfer Bill, and Capital Projects.
Prior to her appointment at PCC, Dr. Avery had a distinguished leadership career. She served as the District Vice Provost for Strategic Partnerships from 2013-15 at the Community Colleges of Spokane and the District Dean of Global Education from 2012-2013. As the Vice Provost, Dr. Avery was responsible for advancing the college district’s strategic plan with key business, industry and foundation partners, as well as enhancing and promoting international exchange, study abroad and honors programs. Under her leadership, international enrollment climbed steadily and Spokane Falls Community College, one of two colleges in the district, earned an Institute of International Education award for globalizing the community college.
From 2010-2012, Dr. Avery served as the Dean of Social Sciences, Human Services, Accounting and Economics and Academic Initiatives at Spokane Falls Community College. In her role, she provided academic leadership to a large and complex division of disciplines that included a multitude of transfer and career technical education programs. She also authored SFCC’s Achieving the Dream grant, helping the college improve its student success rates, and led the initiative to offer cultural competency training to all SFCC faculty.
Before arriving at the Community Colleges of Spokane District, Dr. Avery served as the Interim Associate Dean of the School of Social Work and Human Services at Eastern Washington University from 2008-2010. Her role included oversight of programs in Chicano Education, Africana Studies, Native American Studies, and part-time self-support programs offered to place bound students in rural Eastern Washington. Dr. Avery began teaching at EWU in 2000, earning promotion to the rank of full professor in 2006. At EWU, in addition to her full-time teaching load, Avery authored several successful proposals for external federal funding and served on a national commission related to globalizing education. Avery views her 10 years of classroom instruction as foundational to her administrative career.
A proponent of strategic partnerships, Dr. Avery serves on numerous local/regional committees, and was previously a member of the inaugural American Association of Community Colleges’ Commission on Structured Pathways. In 2018, Dr. Avery was elected to the national governing board of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), and is serving as a board member from 2018-2021. She chairs AACC’s Commission on Public Policy, Advocacy and Advancement, and is a member of the AACC Public Policy and Government Relations Committee. Other national service for Dr. Avery includes her membership on the College Board’s Community College Advisory Panel and on the Healthy Campus Advisory Council.
A first-generation college graduate and native of LaPorte, Indiana, Dr. Avery obtained her doctorate and master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to this, she earned her bachelor’s degree in research psychology from Ball State University.