Meet the Director of Global Programs, Lisa Swaim

April 12, 2019

By Kate O’Neill 

Lisa Swaim, director of Global Programs

The Division of Global Engagement welcomes Lisa Swaim to the role of director of Global Programs. Swaim joins the division with experience in global programming, study abroad, immigration, teaching, and advising.

At UC Santa Cruz, Swaim will develop, oversee and manage a portfolio of programs providing services to inbound international students and scholars as well as programming for outbound study abroad students. Current annual programming includes the Graduate Preparation Program, Introduction to U.S. Classroom Culture, International Student and Scholar Orientations, International Mentorship Program, intercultural workshops, and a variety of events.

Swaim’s philosophy on international education stresses the importance of students’ cultural understanding and development of intercultural competency.

“As I have spent more time within international education, it has become clear to me that an important area of our field is to help students and scholars contextualize their cultural place(s) in the world and to foster intercultural skills and competencies, so that we are doing more than simply providing access to mobility. The quality of what happens to us in cross-cultural environments and how we reflect on our own cultural assumptions and values are essential to our intercultural learning and ultimately our deep understanding of and respect for difference,” Swaim said.

Prior to joining UC Santa Cruz, Swaim served as the assistant director of Global Engagement at Kenyon College. In this role, she provided intercultural programming to the campus community, and advised international and study abroad students.

Previously, Swaim gained experience in immigration and programming at The Ohio State University within the American Language Program and at Georgetown University while serving as the assistant director of student immigration services. While at Middlebury College, she served as the resident coordinator for the Middlebury School in Voronezh, Russia. Her first formal international education experience was participation in the University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) in Russia during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, followed closely by two years in the Peace Corps in newly independent Ukraine.

Swaim has a B.A. in Russian Studies from UCLA, an M.A. in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University, and a certificate in teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language from UC Berkeley Extension. Currently, she is working towards her doctorate in Education at the University of Minnesota in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development with a focus on International Higher Education. Having recently reached candidacy, Swaim hopes to graduate in 2021.

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