Award-winning researcher Robert Swap visits UAH as part of the Distinguished Speaker Series


Award-winning educator and researcher, Dr. Robert J. Swap, will be the guest speaker for The University of Alabama in Huntsville's (UAH) Distinguished Speaker Series on Tuesday, March 3.

Swap's talk entitled, "Working Across Disciplines and Chipping Away at Silos: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Educating Science and Engineering Students," will be presented at 5 p.m., in the Wilson Hall Theater (room 001). His visit is sponsored by the UAH College of Science. Swap will present a co-curricular approach to service-learning and community engagement, designed to begin breaking through institutional and personal silos that inhibit exchanges of knowledge between students, faculty and communities. The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Robert J. Swap is a research professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences and a lecturer in the Global Development Studies Program at The University of Virginia (UV). Swap also serves as a program scientist at NASA HQ for the Radiation Sciences Program. Prior to joining the faculty at UV, Swap served as U.S. coordinator and principal investigator of the Southern African Regional Science Initiative: SAFARI 2000 from 1998 to 2003. Presently, he serves as director of the Eastern/Southern African Virginia Networks and Associations (E-SAVANA), and the UVA Study Abroad in Southern Africa.

His research focuses on developing and implementing collaborative international research, education and outreach projects and programs aimed at producing more resilient and sustainable coupled human natural systems, in developing areas of the world, most notably Southern and Eastern Africa, Brazil and parts of South Asia.

Swap, who speaks six languages has spent more than 15 years on the development and mentoring of young leaders and collaborative teams, both domestically and internationally. His specialties include international consortium development, community engagement, international program development, integrated coupled human/natural system research, transformative international research, educational and outreach activities, sustainable development, servant leadership, leadership and mentoring.

Additionally, through the International Service Learning Community Engagement he has mentored more than 20 undergraduate student teams for projects in South Africa, Mozambique, Zambia, India, Mongolia, Honduras, Belize, Argentina and the U.S.

Swap is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the 2012 Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CASE/Carnegie), Virginia Professor of the Year, All-University Teaching Award for Excellence in Education Abroad, NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award (SAFARI 2000) International Leadership Team, and the Fulbright Senior Specialist Award. He has authored or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed research publications and has been cited in open literature more than 1500 times.

Swap received a master's degree and Ph.D., in environmental sciences from UV. He is a University Research Council Post-Doctoral Fellow of the Climatology Research Group, University of the Witwatersrand, in Johannesburg, South Africa.



Joyce Anderson-Maples

Dean, College of Science