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About Jennifer

Jennifer Swift is Associate Professor (Teaching) of Spatial Sciences the Spatial Sciences Institute (SSI) of the University of Southern California. She serves as the Program Director of the USC SSI Esri Development Center (EDC), which she has done since 2013. 

Swift has developed and taught novel online graduate courses in the USC Graduate Programs in Geographic Information Science and Technology (GIST) and teaches web GIS and GIS programming and customization. She oversees many Master’s theses and other graduate research projects conducted within the GIST Program. As the founding Director of Graduate Studies for the GIST programs, Swift developed key systems and protocols to ensure that SSI staff and faculty utilize high-quality teaching practices, deliver compelling learning experiences, and seek out and share innovative research opportunities for all SSI students. She also created and taught a new undergraduate course in geographic information (GI) science contributing to the minor in Spatial Studies and the B.S. in GeoDesign. Additionally, she leads a core class in spatial databases the M.S. in Spatial Informatics degree offered jointly by the Spatial Sciences Institute and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering Department of Computer Science.

The focus of Swift’s research is at the intersection of web and mobile GIS with CyberGIS, the latter including advanced cyberinfrastructure. These emerging technological trends including the use of “Big Data” and evolving geoprivacy concerns should now be considered core elements of the GI sciences. Swift is particularly interested in developing pedagogical innovations in the use of 3D and time-enabled geospatial technologies in teaching, and in improving methods for teaching programming skills across GI science as a discipline. Advanced scientific understanding and skill in these core geospatial technologies are now fundamental to preparing students to excel in the evolving GIST workforce.

Before joining the Spatial Sciences Institute, Swift was a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Southern California from 2001 to 2009; from 2000 to 2001, she was a Research Associate postdoc within the same department. In her early academic career (1996-1999), she was as an Assistant Professor of Earthquake Engineering at Bogaziçi University, in Istanbul, Turkey.

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