July 24, 2013
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IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa director of athletics Gary Barta announced today the hiring of Liz Tovar as associate athletics director for student-athlete academic services. Tovar joins the UI athletics staff after serving as associate athletics director, student-athlete academic support services, at Northern Illinois the past two years.
Tovar has earned three degrees from the University of Kansas, where she also held the position of associate director, academic and career counseling, student-athlete support services for four years (2005-09). Tovar held the position of athletic academic counselor, student-athlete support services at Ohio State University from 2009-11.
“Liz is a great fit and addition to the Hawkeye family,” said Barta. “She has a strong set of past experiences in academic services, but one of the factors that was so impressive was her passion for helping student-athletes and working with coaches. This came through in our interviews, but also was a common theme when talking to people with whom she has worked over the years.
“As director of our academic student services area, Liz will work closely with our senior leadership team in shaping the athletics department’s overall strategic plan for the very near future.”
Tovar earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Kansas in 2002. She later added her master’s degree in clinical psychology and most recently earned her PhD in educational leadership and policy studies, with an emphasis on higher education administration and a minor in counseling psychology.
“I would like to thank Gary Barta and the search committee for the opportunity to join the Hawkeye family,” said Tovar. “I am excited to continue to serve in a capacity where I can directly make a difference in the lives of students and contribute to their overall development.
“The University of Iowa has a long tradition of academic excellence, and I am confident we will continue to set high standards for our student-athletes. I look forward to meeting the athletics department staff, students, and members of the campus community. My husband and I are delighted about moving to Iowa City.”
Tovar began her career in student services as a student therapist in the KU Psychological Clinic in 2003 and later served as a graduate assistant in the KU student-athlete support services area. She became a fulltime 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 athletics department liaison to the Office of Judicial Affairs and Student Conduct.
Liz is married to Steve Tovar.