Philadelphia University Welcomes Provost Randy Swearer, Ph.D.

Philadelphia University welcomes Provost Randy Swearer, Ph.D., who began Monday, July 20. He oversees the Office of Academic Affairs and will serve as dean of the faculty.

Swearer previously served as dean at Parsons The New School for Design and a tenured faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin.

Swearer, whose areas of expertise include design, higher education management and strategic planning, also was deputy director of the design program of the National Endowment for the Arts. In all these areas, Swearer’s efforts have resulted in measurable change by creating new programs, raising funds for new facilities, implementing rigorous review processes to improve curriculum quality and spurring innovation through community-based strategic planning.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Swearer to Philadelphia University, where his impressive experience at both a design school and large research university makes him a perfect fit for our University’s academic programs and mission,” said Philadelphia University President Stephen Spinelli Jr., Ph.D.  “Randy comes to us with a proven track record of leadership in higher education.  He also believes our Strategic Plan is a game changer for colleges and universities.  And he understands the value – indeed, the necessity – for engaged, collaborative programs that offer real-world opportunities in the work place.”

“Philadelphia University is in a unique position in American higher education,” Swearer said.  “It has created an exceptional strategic plan that boldly confronts some of the biggest issues facing colleges and universities today.  I am honored to be chosen as its next provost, and I’m looking forward to joining a community that has great warmth, creativity and an uncommon capacity to embrace change.”

“The University’s truly exceptional faculty is only matched by the talent of its student body, Swearer continued. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring my passions for design, management, planning and the social sciences to the exciting opportunities that exist at Philadelphia University.”

As dean of Parsons from 1998-2004, Swearer oversaw management of the school, with a budget of $45 million, 200 staff and 825 full- and part-time faculty members. During his tenure, philanthropic giving increased four-fold. He led a comprehensive strategic planning process, launched innovative academic programs and spearheaded development of the Parsons Design Lab to foster collaboration with industry and non-profit organizations.

At the University of Texas, from 1988-98, Swearer directed the Division of Design in the College of Fine Arts and was awarded the Texas Excellence Teaching Prize.  Previously, Swearer was a senior designer and supervisor at Wang Laboratories and senior communications specialist at IBM.

“As provost I will draw on my long background in design-related areas, but I will also apply what I learned from my broad exposure to the general and professional curriculum at the University of Texas,” said Swearer. “I look forward to partnering with President Spinelli, the leadership team, faculty and students to boost the University to the next level of prominence,” he added.

Swearer has lectured widely on design, planning and community identity issues, and has served on national juries for institutions including The National Building Museum, the Harvard Graduate School of Design, Yale University and the American Institute of Architects.  His research is focused on examining the lives of people who live in gated communities, which is the fastest-growing housing segment in the United States.

Swearer received his Ph.D. in anthropology and urban studies from Union Institute, an M.F.A. in design from Yale University and a B.A. from Wesleyan University.

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