Meet the Provost

Randy Swearer, Ph.D., assumed the position of provost and dean of the faculty at Philadelphia University in July 2009.  He has previously served as dean at Parsons The New School for Design, a faculty member and director at the University of Texas at Austin, and deputy director of the design program at the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr. Swearer focuses on how integrative planning processes can help colleges and universities take advantage of the current phase of disruptive innovation in higher education. He is particularly interested in how liberal learning can assume a more forceful role in the 21st Century. Dr. Swearer also has academic expertise in design processes, anthropology and urban studies. He has conducted ethnographic research focused on how residents of gated communities perceive the public and private aspects of their lives.

As dean of Parsons from 1998-2004, Dr. Swearer oversaw management of the school with 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 to re-envision Parson’s future, launched innovative academic programs and institutes, 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, Dr. Swearer directed the Division of Design in the College of Fine Arts and was awarded the Texas Excellence Teaching Prize. Previously, Dr. Swearer was a senior designer and supervisor at Wang Laboratories and senior communications specialist at IBM. 

Dr. Swearer has frequently spoken about innovation in higher education at venues around the globe. He has lectured widely on design, planning and community identity issues, and 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. Dr. 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.