Dr. Alicia Haberski Sprow


Alicia Haberski Sprow, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies & Healthcare Science

Co-Director of the First Year Program

Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator


Dr. Alicia Sprow began her dual faculty appointment in Leadership Studies and Healthcare Science at Alvernia University in August 2019. Her other Alvernia roles include Co-Director the First Year Program and the Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator in the Holleran Center. Prior to joining higher education, Dr. Sprow was an environmental education director providing experiential learning opportunities for people of all ages.


Student leadership development and real-world learning opportunities are the focus of Dr. Sprow’s teaching, service, and scholarship. She incorporates leadership and active learning components into her course content through the SEARCH Seminar and First Year Program, Healthcare Science courses, and the MA in Leadership program. Dr. Sprow also enjoys working with the student leadership team on the Bog Turtle Creek Farm project in the Holleran Center and with the executive officers as a faculty advisor for Alvernia’s student outdoor adventure organization, OAK. Through these opportunities, Dr. Sprow has facilitated learning experiences regionally within Pennsylvania, in her home state of New York along the Shawangunk Ridge (“The Gunks”), and to the Nanahala Outdoor Center in The Great Smoky Mountains. She has also led real-world learning trips internationally to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Mont Tremblant in Montreal, Canada, and to her ongoing community-based project location on Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, Canada.


Combining her passion for the natural environment, outdoor adventure, and community-based work, Dr. Sprow developed the Canada Sustainability Global Immersion Program that introduces students to an island community in New Brunswick, Canada. During the immersion experience, students provide service alongside community members, while they learn about leadership for sustainable change and sustainable living principles, and expand their worldviews and exposure to other cultures during regular interactions with the island residents.


Dr. Sprow holds a Ph.D. in Community Leadership and an M.Ed. in Urban Education from Alvernia University, an M.Ed. in Counseling and Human Services from Lehigh University, and a BA in Psychology from the University at Albany - SUNY.


  • Ph.D. in Community Leadership, Alvernia University, 2011

  • M.Ed. in Urban Education, Alvernia University, 2005

  • M.Ed. in Counseling & Human Services, 1996

  • B.A. in Psychology, University at Albany-SUNY, 1994
Courses Taught

  • LDR 508: Leadership for Sustainable Communities

  • LDR 520: Leadership Development

  • LDR 550: Introduction to Research Methods

  • LDR 670: Applied Leadership Capstone I

  • LDR 671: Applied Leadership Capstone II

  • HCS 300: Writing for Healthcare Science

  • HCS 330: Healthcare Literacy & Advocacy

  • HCS 210: Introduction to Outdoor Adventure

  • HCS 120: Day Hiking & Outdoor Skill Development 

  • HCS 125: Outdoor Activity - Backpacking

  • BIO 230: Sustainability Principles & Practices

  • CES 330: Sustainability Field Experience

  • SRH 101: SEARCH Seminar

  • FYS 101: First Year Seminar

  • COL 400: Seminar in Liberal Studies

  • ED 208: Health & Motor Development for Elementary School

  • ED 300: Teaching Science in Elementary School
Professional Experience
  • Co-director of First Year Program - Alvernia University (2018 - Present)

  • Sustainability Initiatives Coordinator - Holleran Center for Community Engagement, Alvernia University (2012 - present)

  • Adjunct Instructor - Alvernia University (2006 - 2018)

  • Graduate Assistant for Ph.D. Program - Alvernia University (2008 - 2011)

  • Research Seminar Assistant - Alvernia University (2007 - 2008)

  • Adjunct Faculty - Penn State Berks - (2005 - 2006)

  • Graduate Assistant for Student Success - Alvernia University (2003 - 2005)

  • Environmental Education Course Facilitator - Lehigh County, Allentown, Pa. (2001)

  • Conservation Education Director - Lehigh Valley Zoo (1998 - 2003)
Research Experience
  • Nature-centered Leadership and Sustainability Global Immersion Project; Principal researcher (2016 - Present)

  • Sustainability Assessment to Inform the Sustainability Planning Process at Institutions of Higher Education; Principal researcher (2012)

  • Doctoral Dissertation: "The Role of Faculty-Student Interactions in Student Leadership Development and Engagement Based on Varying Levels of Faculty Scholarship of Engagement" (2011)

  • Master's Thesis: "Level of Inclusion of Environmental Education in Teacher Preparation Programs and Pre-Service Students' Attitudes toward Teaching Environmental Education" (2003 - 2004)

  • Presentation – Southwest Popular/American Culture Association 41st Annual Conference, “Portrayal of Outdoor Adventure Leaders in Mass Media: Encouraging Greater Diversity in the Outdoors.” Albuquerque, New Mexico, February 19-22, 2020

  • Presentation, Faculty Excellence Grant Symposium, “Nature-Centered Leadership: Piloting a Narrative Assessment,.” Alvernia University, October 18, 2019

  • Virtual Presentation, 15th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, & Social Sustainability, “Connecting College Students with an Island Community and the Environment Through a Shared Experiential Learning Opportunity”.  Vancouver, Canada, January 16-18, 2019

  • Presentation, Grand Manan Island Museum, “Nature-centered Leadership: Serving in Partnership with the Grand Manan Community,” Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada, August 2017

  • Virtual Presentation, 13th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, & Social Sustainability, “Leading for Sustainable Change: Preserving the Essence of an Island Community.  Greater Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 19-21, 2017

  • Presentation, 12th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, & Social Sustainability. “Nature Play as a Formative Experience in the Development of Nature-centered Leadership.” Portland, Oregon, January 21-23, 2016

  • Panel Discussion, International Leadership Conference, “A Community Engagement Model for Thoughtful Leadership Education,” Barcelona, Spain, October 15-18, 2015

  • Presentation, International Leadership Conference, “Nature-Centered Leadership,” San Diego, CA, October 29-November 1, 2014

  • Presentation, Pennsylvania Association for Environmental Education, “College Students Engaging Middle School Students in Environmental Education,” Pocono Environmental Education Center, March 15-16, 2013.

  • Keynote Speaker, Madonna University’s Interfaith Conference on Sustainability, “Franciscan Values & Moral Common Ground as a Rationale for Sustainability,” Detroit, MI, October 4, 2012.

  • Presentation, Madonna University's Interfaith Conference on Sustainability, "Sustainability Assessment to Inform the Sustainability Planning Process at Institutions of Higher Education," Detroit, MI, October 4, 2012

  • Presentation, 8th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability, “Universities and Community Engagement for a Sustainable Community,” Vancouver, Canada, January 10-12, 2012.

  • Presentation, Pennsylvania Campus Compact, Pennsylvania (PACC), “Using the Framework of Community-Based Research to Implement the Social Change Model of Leadership Development,” Harrisburg, PA, October 21-22, 2011

  • Presentation, Pennsylvania Campus Compact, Pennsylvania (PACC), “Focusing on Engagement’s Purpose: Moving from Activities to a Shared Agenda for Change,” Harrisburg, PA, March 31-April 1, 2011

  • Presentation, Pennsylvania Association for Environmental Education (PAEE), Pennsylvania,  “The Process of Developing an Environmental Education Center,” Bolivar, PA, March 18-20, 2011

  • Presentation, Greening of the Campus VIII, Conference Proceedings (Book 1256), Indiana, “Towards a Model for Integrating Sustainability Within Higher Education,” Indianapolis, IN, September 20-23, 2009
Dissertation & Capstone Committees

  • Dissertation Committee Member: Shiva, S. (In progress). A grounded theory study on mission statements of ocean conservation organizations.

  • Dissertation Committee Member: Carter, R. (2020).  Leadership discourse at the border: Understanding policy, place, and power in practice

  • Dissertation Committee Member: Brian Petersen. (2018). A pilot study for the AIM Scale of psychological well-being and its relationship to exemplary leadership behavior. ProQuest Dissertations Database.

  • Dissertation Committee Member: Brown, T. (2015).  The impact of institutional leadership on faculty job satisfaction. ProQuest Dissertations Database.

  • Capstone Committee Chair: Clark, K. (In progress). Life skills program for individuals with behavioral health challenges living independently.  M.A. in Leadership capstone project.

  • Capstone Committee Chair: Day, T. (In progress). Community trauma. M.A. in Leadership capstone project.

  • Capstone Committee Chair: Vardaxis, R. (In progress). Street of dreams. M.A. in Leadership capstone project.

  • Capstone Committee Chair: Anderson, A. (2020). Developing an employee resource group for veterans at FirstEnergy. M.A. in Leadership capstone project.

  • Capstone Committee Chair: Shipman, L. (2020). Overcoming childhood adversities. M.A. in Leadership capstone project.

  • Capstone Committee Chair: Faust, C. (2020). Creating a framework for sustainability – Alvernia University. M.A. in Leadership capstone project.

  • Capstone Committee Chair: Weber, D. (2020). Identify obese and overweight students to propose educational opportunities to improve student health.  M.A. in Leadership capstone project.

  • Capstone Committee Chair: Reid, J. (2020). Mentoring and retaining male students of color at predominantly white institutions. M.A. in Leadership capstone project.
Boards & Committees

  • Chair, Title III FYE Design Team Committee (2020 - Present)

  • Co-chair, Alvernia Sustainability Action Committee (2020 - Present)

  • Social Justice & Advocacy Faculty Group ( 2020 - Present)

  • GEAC (2020 - Present)

  • GECCCo (2019 - Present)

  • Member, Berks Nature Executive Committee (2014 - 2020)

  • Member, Berks Nature Board ( 2012 - 2020)

  • Chair, Berks Nature Education Committee (2012 - 2020)

  • Co-chair, Alvernia Sustainability Steering Committee (2012 - 2020)

  • Member, Schuylkill River Heritage Area (2015 - 2017)
Professional Organizations

  • The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)

  • Berks Agriculture Resource Network (BARN)

  • On Sustainability Research Network

  • Wilderness Education Association (WEA)



Contact Dr. Sprow

712 High Boulevard
Reading, Pa. 19607

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