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Supporting the College's Strategic Initiatives

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues, 

In the fall, we will undertake a College-wide strategic planning process to help lay the groundwork for the next chapter in the College’s history. I will share more about that exciting project near the start of the new semester. In anticipation of that work, as well as several other important initiatives, I am pleased to announce that Denise Crossan has accepted a three-year appointment as director of community and strategic initiatives, a new position that will be housed in the President’s Office.

In this new role, Denise will collaborate with colleagues across campus to help develop and oversee strategic initiatives that seek to strengthen our community and that support the College’s mission. She will draw on her nearly three decades of experience as a teacher, scholar, and community peacebuilder to help facilitate positive community development and strategic change.

Denise joined Swarthmore in 2007 as a local coordinator for the College’s Northern Ireland study abroad program. Since 2015, she has served as the Eugene Lang Visiting Professor for Issues of Social Change, a position hosted jointly by the Peace & Conflict Studies Program and the Lang Center for Civic and Social Responsibility. In that role, Denise has taught a range of classes designed to help students consider both intractable global challenges and ways to create impactful positive change within local communities. In 2017, she led the establishment of the Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Center. 

In addition to her teaching and work in the Lang Center, Denise has been a key collaborator with numerous committees, offices, and programs across the College. Her experience and insights have contributed to successful collaborations such as the Center for Innovation and Leadership’s SwatTank program, the Innovation and MakerSpace Committee, the President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship program, the Garnet Collaborative, and others.

During the term of her appointment, Denise will continue to serve as director of the Social Innovation Lab at the Lang Center and teach occasionally in the Peace & Conflict Studies Program.

Please join me in congratulating Denise on this exciting new appointment.


Val Smith