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Debora L. Spar is the current President of Barnard Collegemarker, a liberal arts college for women affiliated with Columbia University; as President of Barnard, she is also an academic dean within the university. Spar became Barnard's 11th president in 2008 after a teaching career at Harvard Business Schoolmarker where she was Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development. After graduating magna cum laude from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Servicemarker and earning her doctorate from Harvard in government, she went on to write 6 books and many articles. Deborah L. Spar was appointed to replace Judith Shapiro, Barnard's 10th president, effective July 1, 2008.


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).

Academic Interests

In 2001, "Why the Internet Doesn't Change Everything" 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 Education. 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.

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