Duncan, who came to the university in 2002 and currently serves as chair of the university’s Master of Science in Leadership and Management program, brings a wealth of experience in health care and management. She will be the first full-time dean to lead the college, which opened on July 1.
“It’s an honor to step into this role, and to help shape something so important to the future of the University of La Verne,” Duncan said. “I’ve been closely involved in the planning and vision for this college from the beginning, and I’m thrilled to see it become a reality.”
The college—the cornerstone of the university’s 2025 Strategic Vision—is a hub for high-quality education, research, and innovation in health and the social determinants of health. It also provides a pipeline of qualified graduates to support the Southern California region’s growing need for healthcare professionals.
Currently, it offers 10 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in nursing, health administration, physician assistant practice, child life, psychology and therapy, clinical psychology, and athletic training.
Duncan has served in an array of leadership roles since her arrival at University of La Verne, including directing the Master of Science in Leadership and Management, Master of Health Administration, and Master of Science in Gerontology programs. She has also been chair of the Faculty Assembly and Graduate Council, a member of the Faculty Senate and Faculty Diversity Committee, faculty representative to the Board of Trustees, and a member of the College of Health Special Committee.
Prior to coming to the university, she spent more than 20 years as a registered nurse, nursing director, and administrative director at hospitals and health care organizations in Southern California. She also has deep ties to local communities through her service on several nonprofit boards of directors and consulting work for regional universities, nonprofits, and businesses.
“Kathy’s dual experience in health care and academia position her to be the ideal leader for the College of Health and Community Well-Being,” President Devorah Lieberman said. “She is also highly respected by the university community for her collaborative leadership, commitment to diversity and equity, and embodiment of the values that make the University of La Verne special and distinctive.”
Duncan said her top priority will be to ensure the college provides a meaningful and valuable experience to students. She will also focus on continuing to build an infrastructure for the new college, creating and strengthening community partnerships, and developing new academic programs.
Though the college is new, the University of La Verne has a long history of excellence in health education. Health-related degrees have been an important part of the university’s offerings for 50 years. Today, one in six current undergraduate and graduate students at the university is enrolled in a health-related degree.