Professor Cheryl Swift joined the faculty in Whittier College’s Department of Biology in 1991, shortly after completing her doctoral degree at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research is concerned with the ways in which plants use physiological adaptations to adapt to fire, flood and drought in Mediterranean-type ecosystems. She and her husband John, a professor of English Literature, have collaborated on the presence of plants in Willa Cather's literary works, and she is comfortable bridging between the sciences and the humanities and social sciences.
Swift became active in the SENCER program in 2005 when, working with a sociologist, she developed a course examining the effect of globalization of food and water production on culture and nature. She is committed to changing student perceptions and habits through guided scientific inquiry in order to create awareness of the connections between local action and global consequences.