The leadership of Sofia University is charged with carrying out its mission and bringing it to life. Our founders, board, president and leadership team work together to ensure excellence in all areas and aspects of the school.

Qiaoyun (Liz) Li, Ph.D.
President, Sofia University

Ph.D. in Computer Science, Joint program from Wuhan University China and Keio University Tokyo Japan
IEM, Institute for Educational Management, Harvard University

A proven leader and educator, Dr. Liz Li brings 25 years of industry and academic expertise to her role. Before Sofia, she has experience as Dean of Faculty, Chief Academic Officer, WASC Accreditation Liaison Officer, and head of the Academic Quality Control Committee. Dr. Li was a founding Vice President as well as Professor at the International Software School of Wuhan University, from 2001 to 2005.​ She was a Lecturer in Computer Science at Wuhan University from 1989 to 1994.

About the President – Her Story

Envisioning Success: Sowing the Seeds of Transformation

“Our life is about process – the transformative process – not only about reaching goals or seeking the result. It’s about the transformational experience of life itself that is most valuable and enjoyable, no matter whether experiences are ‘good’ or ‘bad.’”

Dr. Li’s bold decision to take on the challenge of bringing back the strength and vitality of Sofia University after a divisive battle between the former president and student and faculty body, came with an exciting vision for Sofia University. Seeing how her friends in the computer science and engineering fields struggled with achieving happiness within their jobs, Dr. Li believed that the transpersonal values and practices extolled by the psychology community at Sofia, would be a perfect complement to the addition of computer science and business programs.

In an interview with Dr. Li in April 2015, she had this to say about the convergence of these seemingly different fields. “Sofia/ITP has been here for 40 years, offering transpersonal psychology research. [Transpersonal psychology practices] are the roots of a grand tree which provide the nutrition for new innovative branches to grow, like our master degree program in computer science, and degree programs in business and education.”

Like many students, Dr. Li “discovered” Sofia University through a series of synchronistic meetings with Sofia/ITP faculty years before she knew this school would be her next home. When she heard the school was in trouble, she felt that this was a deeper calling that would enable her to make a difference in people’s lives, and live out a childhood dream of seeing the transformative power of education implemented on a larger scale.

Speaking about her vision to the community, Dr. Li shared this message.  “I deeply believe that transpersonal values and principles can be perfectly applied and utilized in all aspects of life with anyone.  It does not matter if a person has knowledge of the transpersonal self within them, or if they have never heard of it before.

By converging the transpersonal with conventional academic subjects, everyone is offered the choice to live a lifestyle that encourages forgiveness, that offers tools to be stress free, that promotes optimism, and that assists in maximizing one’s potential as a human being.”

Bob Frager
Founder, President Emeritus, and Advisor

Ph.D. in Social Psychology, Harvard University
B.A. in Psychology, Reed College

Bob founded the University to provide a transformative education to the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. He wanted Sofia’s graduates to embody the transpersonal in their professional work and in their personal lives as well.  Sofia’s approach to education reflects Bob’s own varied experience. Bob has taught psychology and religious studies at Harvard, the University of California Berkeley and the University of California Santa Cruz. Bob is a sheikh, or spiritual guide, in the Sufi mystical tradition.  He is also an Aikido teacher, was a personal student of the founder of Aikido, and holds a 7th degree black belt.

bhecker-picBarbara Hecker, J.D., Ph.D.
Vice President of Academic Affairs
Dean of Faculty, Program Chair MSCS

Ph.D. in Computer Science
J.D. Juris Doctor
M. S. in Software Engineering
M. S. in Information Systems
M. S. in Telecommunications
B. S. in Business Administration, Minor in Psychology

Barbara is an entrepreneur with a passion for teaching. She’s been a Department Chair, Chief Academic Officer and professor of Computer Science and Software Engineering at various state and private colleges for over 20 years. She has also founded several successful Silicon Valley start-up companies. She has earned master’s degrees in Software Engineering, Information Systems, and Telecommunications. She has also earned a Juris Doctorate and a PhD in Computer Science.

In all of her academic roles, she strives to provide superior graduate education, research and innovation. Outside of academia, Barbara’s interests and hobbies are in programming and software development. She is an innovative app developer and designer. Like most Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, she hopes to someday develop that “killer app,” get rich and then retire. In the meantime, she enjoys learning and sharing her experiences with others.

RossRoss Shott, Ph.D.
Vice President of Operations
PsyD in Human Performance

Ross is an alumnus of the inaugural Singularity University GSP09 class and helped build that company from a start-up to $50-million. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Master of Technology in Strategic Foresight, and a Doctor of Psychology in Human Performance. Ross uses his unique blend of strategic foresight education and extensive management experience to coach executives one-on-one for leadership enhancement and to mentor management teams for enterprise transformation.

For over 25 years, Ross has used his experience as a organizational leader in positions with the military, manufacturing plants, service operations, retail establishments, construction projects, distribution chains, and educational institutions. He is a human performance, process improvement, and systemic innovation expert. He has worked with for-profit/non-profit entities ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups of 3 members to established corporations with over 80,000 employees.

martinJeffery A. Martin, PhD
Director of the Transformative Technology Lab
Research Professor

PhD, in Transformative Studies, California Institute of Integral Studies
ALM (cand.), in Psychology, Harvard University
MSc, in Management, Thomas Edison State College
MS, in Network Architecture and Design, Capella
BA, AA, AAS, Thomas Edison State College

Jeffery is social scientist who researches personal transformation, and a leading expert on non-symbolic consciousness (fundamental well-being, enlightenment, nonduality, mystical experience, etc.). He specializes in bringing rigorous empirical research and testing to transformational techniques and theories. Jeffery’s academic focuses include: technology, psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and transformative studies. A bestselling author and award winning educator, he has co-edited, authored, or co-authored over 20 books and numerous other publications; appeared in a wide variety of media; and lectured broadly in both academic and public forums. In addition to his research and academic interests,

Jeffery is a successful entrepreneur, technologist, and business leader who has founded companies in the technology, media, real estate, and wellness sectors. He currently serves in a variety of equity-based advisory positions for a range of companies within these industries, as well running the Transformative Technology Lab at Sofia University. 

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