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Cheryl Swanier

Senior Teaching Faculty
(413) 545-1220


Human Computer Interaction (HCI) and Computer Science Education research; Broadening Participation in Computing. Computer Science Education policy; college deans' attitudes towards teaching and learning.


After a long career in computing, both industry and academia, Professor Swanier's current research interests are in computer science education, human computer interaction with an emphasis in visual programming of educational simulations with end user programming and educational gaming technologies, broadening participation in computing, equity, diversity and inclusion; and pedagogy for computer science teaching and learning.


PhD, Computer Science, Auburn University (2015), EdD, Educational Leadership, Auburn University (2004), MDiv, Theology, Emory University (2017), MS, Columbus State University, (2005), Mathematics,  MS, Computer Science, State University of New York - Binghamton (1994), BS, Computer Science, Albany State University (1986). Professor Swanier joined the Department of Computer Science at Claflin University in 2016 as the Henry N. and Alice Carson Tisdale Endowed Professor and Chair. She served as chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science from 2016-2019. She also held a permanent position at Fort Valley State University as a tenured Associate Professor. Prior to serving in higher education, she served as a High School Math Teacher within the Muscogee County School District, Columbus, Georgia. Professor Swanier worked in the tech industry for almost two decades for technical organizations to include IBM (New York) and TSYS (Georgia) as a Senior Programmer and Quality Analyst.

Activities & Awards

Professor Swanier was selected as a Visiting Research Scientist at Google in Mountain View, California in 2017 and she received the 2016-17 Google igniteCS Award. Professor Swanier is a recipient of both the 2017 NCWIT Seed Fund Award and the 2013 NCWIT Undergraduate Research Mentoring Award. Professor Swanier is also the recipient of the 2013 Champion of Change for Tech Inclusion Award given by the White House.  She was recognized by Ebony Magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans in the December-January 2013-14 issue. Professor Swanier serves as a Program Evaluator for ABET with the Computing Accreditation Commission (CAC). She serves on the steering committee for NCWIT Academic Alliance and previously served as a NCWIT Pacesetter.  She has served on several national committees including ABET, Grace Hopper, Anita Borg, and other NCWIT committees. She also serves as a member of the Savannah State University Advisory Board for the Department of Computer Science. Dr. Swanier is the founder and CEO of Swanier Consulting, LLC. Professor Swanier is also the founder and CEO of the non-profit Small Ijose Swanier Foundation (SIS Foundation), Inc. One of the programs implemented through the SIS Foundation, Inc. is the Kewl Girlz Kode summer learning program. Professor Swanier facilitates presentations to provide undergraduates with opportunities to gain information on research experiences, internships, and on exploring the graduate experience.

Professor Swanier currently works with the NSF ASCEND initiative for the advancement and mentoring of mid-career women and university administrators through the creation of three regional inter-institutional peer mentoring networks in collaboration with Williamette University. She has worked with outreach initiatives to improve computer science education at all levels. One of these initiatives is the ARTSI Alliance, Advancing Robotics, Technology for Societal Impact in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. Another initiative is the STARS (Students & Technology in Academia, Research & Service) Alliance, regional partnerships among academia, industry, K-12, and the community to strengthen local BPC programs by focusing on K-12 outreach, community service, student leadership and computing diversity research in collaboration with Temple University. She has worked with the NSF iAAMCS (Institute for African American Mentoring in Computer Science) initiative to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in computing in collaboration with the University of Florida.

Dr. Swanier works with many programs focused on increasing the computing pipeline by getting students interested in STEM disciplines and future technology careers. She also conducted outreach activities to organizations such as Girls, Inc., the Boys and Girls Club, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Delta Academy and Delta GEMS, and the Links, Inc. in a concerted effort to broaden participation in computing for underrepresented minorities and girls. These workshops included teaching girls from K-12 to learn visual programming languages, develop websites, and program robots. Dr. Swanier is open to collaborations in areas of HCI, Virtual Environments, and Visual Programming.