Dr. Liz Tovar was named Executive Officer and Associate Vice President of the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion on February 1, 2021, after serving as interim associate vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion since August 2020. She also serves as associate athletics director overseeing Student-Athlete Academic Services and is a member of the UI Athletics senior management team.
Dr. Tovar began a career in academic services in 1998 at the University of Kansas (KU) in Lawrence, Kansas, where she also received undergraduate, master's, and doctoral degrees in psychology, clinical psychology, and educational leadership and policy studies, respectively. Before joining Iowa in 2013, Tovar managed student services and advised student-athletes in academic, personal, and professional development at KU, The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, and Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.
At the University of Kansas, Dr. Tovar began her career as a student hourly employee and later served as a graduate assistant in academic services. She became a full-time staff member at Kansas in 2005, where she conducted academic advisement for the KU football program. She worked with several sports programs while at Ohio State, including the OSU football program, working with student-athletes in academic, personal, and professional development, while also providing supervision and mentorship of department graduate assistants and interns. At Northern Illinois, Tovar provided academic resource support for over 400 student-athletes who participated in 17 sports. She served as supervisor for 25 full and part-time staff members and served as the athletic department liaison to the Office of Judicial Affairs and Student Conduct. Tovar's teaching experiences include Skills for Undergraduate Success at Northern Illinois, Positive Transitions for Intercollegiate Student-Athletes at Ohio State, and Career Decision-Making for College Students at Kansas.
Under Dr. Tovar's leadership in athletics at the University of Iowa, student-athletes continue to graduate at an all-time high of 90 percent, which is second-highest in the Big Ten Conference and is highest among Iowa's four Division I institutions. Dr. Tovar launched the Hawkeye Life Program centering student-athlete growth on six pillars of excellence: leadership, community engagement, academic success, career development, health & well-being, and diversity & inclusion. Tovar was an integral member of the $6MM renovation of Gerdin Athletic Learning Center. With over 28,000 square feet of space, the building serves as the home for overseeing the educational development and progress toward graduation of Hawkeye student-athletes.
Dr. Tovar is married to Steve Tovar.