Spar at New York book signing, 2013
|Occupation||College President, Author|
Debora L. Spar is the current President of Barnard College, a liberal arts college for women affiliated with Columbia University. As President of Barnard, she is also an academic dean within the university. Spar was appointed Barnard's 7th president in July 2008 and replaced Judith Shapiro, Barnard's 6th president, after a teaching career at Harvard Business School where she was Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development. After graduating magna cum laude in 1984 from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and earning her doctorate from Harvard in government, she went on to write 6 books and many articles.
During her inaugural address on October 23, 2008, Spar cited a number of goals for her term as President of Barnard College. Paramount were her desire to make Barnard a more internationally-recognized institution for women, as well as expand and improve the current Barnard Leadership Initiative (BLI). She followed up on this goal by converting BLI into Barnard's Athena Center for Leadership Studies.
Spar also was quoted on Augusta not admitting women as saying "It's just an embarrassment that it's still all male".
Research and Academic interests
She has appeared on 60 Minutes, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, ABC World News Tonight, and in many newspapers and magazines. Her own articles have appeared in publications ranging from The New England Journal of Medicine to Foreign Affairs to The Review of International Political Economy.
In 2001, she wrote an article called "Why the Internet Doesn't Change Everything" which described the distinctive nature of the internet industry. Her penultimate book, The Baby Business: How Money, Science and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception, pioneered research about the economy of alternative fertility. Spar was the first academic to mention fertility as a transaction through a business framework.
In various interviews online, Spar said that when she picked up the research topic of fertility through an economic lens, her colleagues did not take her seriously and called her soft. She followed up in 2006 with a book named The Hidden Market for Babies.
Spar has also written about AIDS, African economics, the global economy, the balance of power, and terrorism.
A leading figure in business academics, Spar also ran Making Markets Work, joint program between Harvard Business School and the University of Pretoria Gordon Institute of Business Science. The course in South Africa teaches about the interconnection of the public and private sectors' effects on economic growth. Spar also spearheaded the initiative in Rwanda, where cabinet members learned about executive education.
- The Baby Business, Harvard Business School Press, 2006
- Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Discovery, Chaos, and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet
- The Cooperative Edge: The Internal Politics of International Cartels
- Beyond Globalism: Remaking American Foreign Economic Policy
- Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, 2013