Bridgewater’s “obvious commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, not just in word but in practice, was exceptional and appealed to me."
Dr. Marci J. Swede is passionate about breaking down systemic inequities in medicine and education. As Bridgewater State’s newest dean, she sees the university as the perfect platform from which to pursue that ambitious end.
Bridgewater’s “obvious commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, not just in word but in practice, was exceptional and appealed to me,” said Swede, who began leading the College of Education and Health Sciences in August.
A geneticist and biochemist, Swede is returning to her roots at a public New England institution. She worked as a biology professor at Middlesex Community College in Connecticut and subsequently held a variety of teaching and administrative posts. She most recently worked as dean of Illinois’ North Central College’s School of Education and Health Sciences.
Throughout her teaching career, Swede has worked with many students pursuing medical careers.
“I started thinking, aside from scientific knowledge, what else do they need?” Swede said, adding: “The science – which I love – was a jumping off point to ask how can we do medical education in a better and more equitable way.”
It’s important for students to understand past mistakes – such as the exclusion of women and people of color from drug trials – and how to prevent them from happening again, she said.
As her career progressed, Swede gravitated toward initiatives that crossed department lines and forged connections throughout the institutions she has served.
She enjoys working with and learning from faculty, and brings key experience, having helped develop academic programs and design the 35,000-square-foot engineering and health sciences building at North Central College.
Now at BSU, Swede looks forward to seeing the campus come alive with activity in the fall and working with the university’s strong education and health programs to address inequities that persist in society.
“There’s a lot of deep knowledge in this college about what’s happening out in the communities,” she said. “There’s tremendous potential to build on what’s already here.”
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