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PCC lands Lisa Avery for top post at Sylvania Campus
Photos and Story by Kate Chester
Portland Community College announced that Lisa Avery has been tapped to serve as president of the college’s Sylvania Campus (12000 SW 49th Ave.) beginning July 1. She succeeds Suzanne Johnson, who stepped in as the interim president last summer upon the retirement of longtime Sylvania Campus President Linda Gerber.
“Lisa brings a wonderful mix of experience as an administrator and as an in-classroom educator to PCC Sylvania, in addition to expertise that is solidly rooted in student development and student services,” said Jeremy Brown, president of Portland Community College. “This combination of talent and skills will be of great benefit to both the campus and college.”
Since 2013 Avery has served as the district vice provost for strategic partnerships at the Community Colleges of Spokane (Spokane, Wash.), which includes two separately accredited colleges, Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College. In this role, she has been responsible for advancing the college district’s strategic plan with key business, industry and foundation partners, as well as developing, enhancing and promoting international exchange, study abroad and American Honors programs.
Prior to her current role, Avery was the district’s dean of Global Education and American Honors, serving as its chief international officer. In this capacity she helped establish a pilot public-private honors program, the first of its kind among U.S. community colleges. Under Avery’s watch international enrollment climbed steadily, and SFCC earned an Institute of International Education award for internationalizing the community college.
From 2010-2011, Avery was the interim dean of instruction for Social Sciences, Human Services, Accounting & Economics and Academic Initiatives at Spokane Falls Community College. In this role, she provided academic leadership to a large and complex division of disciplines that included a multitude of both transfer and career technical education programs.
Before arriving to the CCS district, Avery served as the interim associate dean of the School of Social Work and Human Services at Eastern Washington University (Cheney, Wash.) from 2008 to 2010. She began teaching at EWU in 2000, rising to the position of full professor in 2006.
“I am thrilled to become part of PCC and the Sylvania Campus, specifically,” said Avery. “The college has a powerful and prestigious reputation because of the diversity of students it serves and the innovative opportunities it creates for them. This ultimately benefits the community at large as these students go on to do great things after completing their studies at PCC.“To be part of this momentum, supporting student success and diversity at PCC Sylvania, is a real honor,” she said.
As Sylvania’s president Avery inherits PCC’s largest and oldest campus, which first opened its doors in 1968. With an enrollment of nearly 32,000 students, the Sylvania Campus is home to programs such as Automotive Service Technology, Nursing, Radiography, Sign Language Interpretation and the MakerSpace, a cross-disciplinary laboratory that gives students, staff and faculty access to more than a dozen rapid prototyping machines to make gearboxes, usable parts and devices, wearable technology, prosthetic limbs, theater arts sets, and more.
A first-generation college student and native of LaPorte, Ind., Avery obtained both her doctorate and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to this, she earned her bachelor’s degree in research psychology from Ball State University.
Since 2011, Avery has served as both an evaluator/site visitor for Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and as a selection panelist for the Gilman Scholarship.
“We are simply delighted that Lisa will be joining us,” said Brown. “She is gregarious, accomplished and hard-working. Lisa’s skills and talents will enable the Sylvania Campus to continue to flourish, built on the strong foundation established by preceding presidents, as well as faculty and staff.”