Skip to main content



Dr. Lisa DeFrank-Cole

Lisa DeFrank-Cole

Dr. Lisa DeFrank-Cole was selected as the 2017 recipient of the Mary Catherine Buswell Award for her commitment to women and leadership. In her doctoral dissertation, she explored this topic and has contributed to the development of this emerging field during the past 15 years.

She served on the initial steering committee for the Women’s Leadership Initiative at WVU, a post that she continues to hold today. In this position, she has helped plan and execute leadership development programs for hundreds of women across campus. In 2012, she was selected as a Fulbright Specialist Grant recipient where she traveled to the Royal University for Women in the Kingdom of Bahrain to teach a course and share the WVU Leadership Studies curriculum. She has taken female students from WVU to Bahrain two times when she has taught there. She built on these experiences by going to Saudi Arabia and hosting leadership development workshops for women who work in higher education in 2017. Lisa brings what she learns in the Middle East back to WVU to share with her students and colleagues.

Elected chair of the Women and Leadership Affinity Group (WLAG) of the International Leadership Association, DeFrank-Cole has encouraged WVU colleagues to participate in the WLAG biennial conferences. The WLAG brings together those interested in teaching, researching and conducting leadership development programs for women. As associate professor and director of leadership studies, she has formalized and taught a course on women and leadership where she highlights the benefits of and challenges to female leaders. This course is offered in affiliation with the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies program at WVU. DeFrank-Cole previously served as a state/university representative to the ACE (American Council on Education) women’s network where she brought speakers from ACE in Washington, DC to Morgantown.

She recently completed the 2016-17 Leadership and Negotiation Academy for Women at Carnegie Mellon University and has begun to share what she learned with women at WVU. While research and publication is not part of her clinical faculty position, she has authored five peer-reviewed articles and is currently co-editing a book about women and leadership forthcoming from Routledge.