Swarthmore College

Chris Dowdy serves as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Paul Quinn College in Dallas, Texas — America’s first Urban Work College and the oldest Historically Black College west of the Mississippi River. As chief academic officer, he facilitates the implementation of the Reality-Based Education model and the integration of the Work College program into the curriculum. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Southern Methodist University in 2013 and began his work at PQC as Special Assistant to the President in August of 2014. His research focus is on redress for historical injustice, and he is the author of articles on lynching memory and mercy, as well as projects in the digital humanities.


Dr. L. Joy Gates Black was selected unanimously by Delaware County Community College’s Board of Trustees in 2017 to be the fourth president of the College since its founding. She is the first woman and the first African American to head the 51-year-old College.

Dr. Gates Black sits on the boards of the Chester County Economic Development Council, the Riverfront Alliance of Delaware County, and the Foundation for Delaware County. She also chairs the Collegiate Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, and is a commissioner for the American Association of Community Colleges. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Dr. Gates Black was one of three women chosen to receive a “Woman of Achievement” award from the Delaware County Women’s Commission in March 2018, and she was one of two recipients of a 2017 Maury Cotter Leader of Change Award from the Network for Change and Continuous Innovation, an international higher education organization.

Prior to Delaware County Community College, Dr. Gates Black was vice chancellor at Tarrant County College District (TCC), a comprehensive, community college in Fort Worth, Texas that annually serves more than 100,000 credit and non-credit students.


Dr. Laura Heffernan is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. Her research focuses on twentieth century literature and the history of pedagogy in higher education, which has been supported by an ACLS fellowship. Dr. Heffernan is the incoming director of UNF’s new Digital Humanities Initiative, where she has played a lead role in building partnerships with local archivists, historical societies, high schools, and community groups. She is Director of Operations for the Jacksonville chapter of the AAUW’s Younger Women’s Task Force and serves on as Chair of Interdisciplinary Approaches on the Executive Committee of the Modernist Studies Association.


Cheryl Jones-Walker is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at University of San Francisco, School of Education. She began her career as a teacher in the Bronx, NY, and continued teaching at a Boston-area independent school as well as internationally in Gabon, Central Africa. Prior to doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Cheryl worked at the Center for Collaborative Education in Boston, a non-profit organization committed to improving urban K-12 education. At CCE she was a co-director of the Pilot School Network; in this role she worked with teacher leaders, school principals and district officials to create the conditions that would foster engaging learning environments for student success. As a Principal Investigator of Blueprints, a 1.5 million grant from US Office of Minority Health, she led a partnership between Swarthmore College, the College Access Center and Crozer Hospital, to provide a network of academic, cultural and wellness support to 40 Chester youth. Her most recent publications include Identity Work in the Classroom: Successful Learning in Urban Schools and a chapter in Transforming the Academy: Faculty Perspectives on Diversity & Pedagogy.


Jim Lovelace ’79 is a Senior Vice President and portfolio counselor of Capital Research Global Investors, a division of Capital Research and Management Company, with responsibilities for The Investment Company of America (ICA), Capital Income Builder (CIB), American Mutual Fund, and American Funds Insurance Series – Blue Chip Income and Growth. Jim is also Vice Chairman, Principal Investment Officer, and a Director of CIB; Vice Chairman, Co-Principal Investment Officer and a Director of ICA; Principal Investment Officer of the American Funds Target Date Retirement Series; and a Senior Vice President of AMF.

Professionally, Lovelace is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the Los Angeles Society of Financial Analysts and the AIMR. Philanthropically, he serves on the Boards of the California Institute of the Arts, the Idyllwild Arts Foundation, Swarthmore College and the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Lovelace holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Swarthmore College.


Laura McGrane is Director of Visual Culture Arts and Media and Associate Professor of English at Haverford College. She received her PhD from Stanford University and MSc from the University of Oxford and researches eighteenth-century print culture and digital media, integrating theoretical work on interface and coding into scholarship on the history of the book. She is PI for $2M in interdisciplinary grants, including Mellon-funded programming for Visual Studies and Philadelphia Creative Collaboratives. She also oversees staffing for the Haverford Innovation Program (HIP) and the VCAM Maker Arts space. She serves as the District 4 (Pennsylvania, New York) Rhodes Secretary and is a regular workshop leader on issues of collaborative technology across the humanities and sciences in liberal arts education.


Ravi S. Rajan is the fourth president of the California Institute of the Arts. A highly regarded artist and musician whose work reaches across disciplines, Ravi is also an accomplished teacher and academic administrator with a reputation for innovative and visionary leadership.

Before CalArts, Ravi worked at Purchase College, State University of New York (SUNY Purchase) in a number of administrative roles, including as Director of Art+Design, and culminating with his service as Dean of the School of the Arts. Prior to Purchase, he taught students from kindergarten through university at various institutions and worked with Nobel Prize-winning scientists on multimedia projects at The Rockefeller University.

Ravi has degrees from Yale University and the University of Oklahoma and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (UK) in 2010. He was on the board of the Asian American Arts Alliance, and recently served as a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee. He is involved in various service organizations for the arts, diversity, and higher education worldwide. He is married to Lucy Tucker Yates, a renowned opera vocal and diction coach, and they have two young sons.


David Schaberg (BA, Stanford, 1986; PhD, Harvard, 1996) is Dean of Humanities and Professor in Asian Languages & Cultures at UCLA. Past chair of Asian Languages & Cultures and Co-Director of the Center for Chinese Studies, Schaberg has published articles on early Chinese literature, historiography, and philosophy as well as Greek/Chinese comparative issues. He is author of A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography, which was awarded the Association for Asian Studies 2003 Levenson Prize for Books in Chinese Studies (Pre-1900 Category) and translator, with Stephen Durrant and Wai-yee Li, of Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan (University of Washington, 2016), which won the Association for Asian Studies 2018 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation. His most recent work addresses the history of oratory and ritual speech genres in early China.


Cosma Shalizi is Associate Professor of Statistics and Data Science at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is also on the faculty of the Department of Machine Learning, the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and the Heinz School of Public Policy. He studied physics at UC Berkeley (AB, 1993) and UW Madison (PhD, 2001) and was a post-doc at the University of Michigan’s Center for the Study of Complex Systems and the Santa Fe Institute, where he is now on the external faculty. He is the author of Advanced Data Analysis from an Elementary Point of View, and blogs at bactra.org.




Chad Wellmon is Professor of German Studies, with appointments in History and Media Studies, at the University of Virginia. He teaches and writes on European intellectual history, media and social theory, and the history of technology and the university. His published work includes Becoming Human: Romantic Anthropology and the Embodiment of Freedom (2010), Organizing Enlightenment: Information Overload and the Invention of the Modern University (2015), and The Rise of the Research University: A Source Book (2017) with Louis Menand and Paul Reitter. He is currently completing his new book Permanent Crisis: The Humanities in a Disenchanted Age. He led a complete redesign of UVA’s general education program and is currently co-director of the program. He is also Principal of Brown College, UVA’s oldest residential college.