Judith Swift

  • Director and Professor of Communication Studies
  • University of Rhode Island Coastal Institute
  • Phone: STEEP Role: Lead, Research Translation Core


Professor Judith Swift is director of the Coastal Institute at the University of Rhode Island (CI), and a professor in the Departments of Communication Studies and Theatre. As director of the CI, Swift blends traditional science communication strategies (e.g., websites, one-pagers, reports) with innovative interdisciplinary approaches that engage the audience in right- and left-brain thinking to create a more impactful message through sensory as well as analytical pathways (e.g., studio  and performance art, videos, cartoons, music). Under Swift’s leadership, the CI has an established capacity to and record of producing and disseminating engaging and effective products (see examples at http://www.ci.uri.edu/publications/). As director of the CI, Swift leads emergency preparation and response collaboration with the RI Department of Environmental Management and statewide scientists, and also serves as director of the North Atlantic Coast Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, a consortium of 26 universities/NGOs and 9 federal partners (USGS, DOI/NPS, BOEM, NOAA, USDA-NRCS, USACE, USFW, DoD, BIA) to address complex coastal ecosystem management.  Swift has 25+ years of experience with conflict resolution and has received training through the Lily Foundation and Harvard University. In addition, she taught conflict resolution in the Executive MBA program at URI for ten years. She works regularly at professional theatres and has produced numerous works focused on coastal resilience and ecology. Swift earned a certificate at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, the preeminent theatre conservatory; and an M.A. and B.A. of English from the University of Rhode Island.