The Opportunity

Swarthmore College invites inquiries, nominations, and applications for the position of director and chair of athletics, physical education, and recreation.

Swarthmore College is a highly selective liberal arts college located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, whose mission combines academic rigor with social responsibility. Swarthmore has a strong institutional commitment to inclusive excellence and the goal of fostering a diverse and inclusive community. As one of the nation’s finest institutions of higher learning, Swarthmore College is global in outlook and has nearly 1,700 students in attendance from around the nation and world. Swarthmore was most recently named the third-best small college in the country by Forbes and is also ranked third among national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report. The 425‐acre campus is a designated arboretum, complete with gardens, rolling lawns, a creek, wooded hills, and hiking trails in the Crum Woods. Swarthmore athletics boasts a long and decorated history with eight national championships and more than 330 All-Americans since the 1860s. Swarthmore student-athletes are not only successful in their respective sports; since 1903, 17 of the College’s 28 Rhodes Scholars have competed in varsity athletics.

The Position

Role of the Director and Chair of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation for Swarthmore College

Swarthmore College seeks a dynamic, collaborative, and talented leader to serve as the next director and chair of athletics, physical education, and recreation. The department participates in NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics within the Centennial Conference and serves the broader campus community by offering a robust community wellness program and directly manages a state-of-the-art athletic and wellness facility, the Matchbox. With an appreciation for the rigorous academic culture of Swarthmore College, the centrality of wellness for all students, and the importance of intercollegiate and club competition for the community, the next director and chair of the department will provide purposeful leadership and direction, with a sharp focus on the mission of the college and the department.

Reporting to the provost and dean of the faculty and serving as a member of the president’s cabinet, the director and chair has overall responsibility for all aspects of the department of athletics, physical education, and recreation. The director and chair is responsible for the visionary leadership, strategic development, management, coordination, and supervision of a comprehensive NCAA Division III intercollegiate athletics program with 22 sport teams and approximately 425 scholar-athletes; the leadership of the College’s physical education programs; and oversight of robust community wellness programming including club sports, intramurals, and group fitness. The director and chair will have direct supervision of 16 head coaches and 15 departmental administrators and manage an annual budget of approximately $1.1 million. The director and chair will have the privilege of voice and vote in the Faculty Senate.

The next director and chair will provide purposeful leadership and direction, with a sharp focus on the mission of the college and the department. They will be expected to:

  • manage a diverse group of people—including an administrative team, health conditioning professionals, head and assistant coaches, and instructional staff—with personal and professional goals congruent with those missions;
  • possess effective communication skills in order to intentionally and consistently connect the Athletic Department with various constituencies within the campus members—including, but not limited to, the Provost’s Office, to which it reports, and the offices of admissions, advancement, facilities and capital planning, human resources, communications, Title IX, the academic faculty, Student Government, and student affairs;
  • foster a high standard of integrity, academic success, and athletic excellence;
  • possess strong management and fiscal oversight skills in managing the overall budget;
  • recruit and retain coaches and staff who are committed to the overall development of student athletes;
  • nurture and maintain a strong culture of accountability and responsibility, leveraging the power of people to advance the goals of the department;
  • oversee the credit-bearing programming for the department, including curricular changes and evaluation;
  • develop and maintain relationships within the College community and beyond to effectively communicate and advance the department’s goals and mission;
  • champion the goals, values, and mission of the College, especially as they relate to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a strong commitment to social responsibility;
  • bring an understanding of gender equity in athletics and Title IX compliance;
  • enthusiasm around setting direction, as well as developing and implementing strategic initiatives;
  • partner with the College’s division of advancement to continue to engage with the College’s broad alumni and donor community;
  • be a visible and accessible champion and advocate for the scholar-athlete experience; coaching and recreation personnel; and the athletics, physical education, and recreation programs;
  • partner with facilities and capital planning, providing strategic direction and oversight for the safety, maintenance, construction, and restoration of the athletics facilities and develop plans for future facility needs;
  • coordinate with campus entities to develop and monitor long-range curricular goals; and
  • represent the Department to both internal and external constituents;
  • be responsible for compliance with all institutional, Centennial Conference, NCAA, Title IX, and other relevant policies, rules, and regulations.

History of the Position

Karen Borbee, professor of physical education and athletics and head women’s lacrosse coach & interim director of athletics has been serving as acting director of athletics since October 2020. Borbee holds a BS in physical education from the University of Delaware and an MEd in mathematics from Widener University. Borbee joined Swarthmore in 1990 and in that time has coached soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey and has previously served as senior woman administrator. Borbee replaced Adam Hertz, who announced his resignation in October 2020 after nearly 20 years of service to Swarthmore, 18 of which were spent as the director and chair. Over the last 20 years, Garnet athletics has won 14 Centennial Conference championships. An impressive four Garnet teams reached at least the NCAA national quarterfinals in their respective sports, two teams reached national No. 1 rankings, and Swarthmore won an individual national championship in women’s track and field. In addition, 23 student-athletes were named Academic All-Americans and 63 received All-American honors during that time.

Opportunities and Challenges of the Role

As a top-ranked liberal arts institution, Swarthmore College is committed to excellence across all dimensions of the College. Since becoming president of Swarthmore in 2015, President Smith has championed the creation of inclusive and equitable communities to which everyone is invited to contribute their ideas, gifts, and enthusiasms. The athletics, physical education, and recreation department contributes positively to the overall reputation of the College and there is a keen desire to see that success integrated more intentionally across the campus to continually enhance the student experience.

Areas of focus for the new director and chair include:

  • Create a 21st-century vision for Garnet Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation. Working with a successful and engaged coaching and administrative staff, create a clear and unified departmental vision and mission; develop a strong sense of team among staff; and build working relationships that emphasize collaboration, consistency, and equity. Staff should feel encouraged, challenged, supported, and confident about how they contribute to the vision. The next director and chair will be expected to create strategy and departmental priorities defining organizational and student success, deferred maintenance and facilities improvements, and scholar-athlete and alumni engagement, positioning Swarthmore athletics for years to come.
  • Mission-aligned leadership. An experienced supervisor, mentor, and leader who can build cohesion and culture for the athletics, physical education, and recreation department grounded in Swarthmore’s academic mission; empathizing with students, recognizing the challenges of achieving academic excellence; and being able to help coaches and students work together to achieve This understanding of campus culture and mission will be critical as the next director and chair will lead the re-introduction of competitive intercollegiate competition post-COVID.
  • Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation as campus partner. With a highly relational and communicative nature, the next director and chair will strengthen communication and collaboration between athletics and the larger institution—academic affairs, student affairs, purchasing, alumni, facilities and capital planning, human resources, Title IX, etc. and the greater community with a particular focus on increasing efficiencies and opportunities that further support the scholar-athlete experience as part of a dynamic student experience.
  • Leadership around diversity, equity, and inclusion. Continue to initiate and support institutional goals of diversity, equity, and inclusion by actively leading departmental conversations for staff and scholar-athletes, promoting training and staff development, and cultivating an equity-minded departmental culture.
  • Fundraising and alumni development. A passionate storyteller, the next director and chair will champion strategic partnership with the new vice president for advancement and new assistant director of alumni and parent engagement for athletics for the continued cultivation and stewardship of the Garnet Club Advancement Council. The next director and chair will strengthen relationships with alumni, student-athletes, and parents to further nurture and encourage their continued relationship with Swarthmore College.

Measures of Success

The members of the department of athletics, physical education, and recreation are valued educators, colleagues, and contributors to the mission and student experience. The new director and chair will continue to build strong working relationships with, and open dialogue between, athletics and key campus stakeholders. Additionally, the new director and chair will need to develop a comprehensive strategic plan and set of priorities for athletics that will address both immediate and long-term needs such as facilities renovations, staffing, recruiting, balancing resources across all sports, and fundraising goals and objectives.

Additional measures, as shared by key institutional stakeholders, include the following:

  • the director and chair will understand their role as educator and leader and seek to engage all Swarthmore students toward a holistic understanding of wellness and wellbeing;
  • the director and chair will be a supporter and tireless advocate for the scholar-athlete experience and a champion of opportunities that promote wellbeing and healthy competition;
  • the director and chair will be a visible and highly accessible advocate for coaches, faculty, staff, and department programs;
  • the director and chair will have demonstrated the ability to manage short-term change and long-term development for the department including staffing, professional development, facilities management, and strategic capital planning;
  • the director and chair will respect, encourage, and celebrate the talents of the department while also holding each person accountable to mutually agreed-upon goals;
  • the director and chair will have an appreciation for shared governance and for the role heightened and enhanced communication have in consensus building;
  • the director and chair will have established strong working relationships and partnerships within the student affairs’ leadership team, advancement, admissions, direct reports, athletes, faculty, alumni, and community partners;
  • the director and chair will continue to enhance and strengthen the opportunities found within the areas of athletics, physical education, and recreation for all students, creating a sense of school spirit and engagement that is felt across campus;
  • the director and chair will bring a passion and energy for athletics, physical education, and recreation that enhances campus pride;
  • the director and chair will demonstrate a leadership style that is credible and collegial while being highly effective;
  • the director and chair will bring a personal passion for inclusive excellence that they communicate in an inspirational manner that inspires others to embrace the mission and vision of Swarthmore Athletics;
  • the director and chair will think broadly about access and inclusion in athletic environments and how physical education and athletics can be hubs for discourse about diversity, inclusion, and understanding differences.

Qualifications and Characteristics

The successful candidate must have significant, progressive professional experience leading a complex, dynamic, and diverse department. A master’s degree; experience within a highly selective liberal arts institution; collegiate level coaching; and significant capital planning and fundraising experience is preferred. The successful candidate will possess a comprehensive understanding of intercollegiate athletics administration, scholar-athlete development, NCAA compliance within a Division III environment, and an appreciation for physical education as a component of a comprehensive liberal arts education. The next director and chair should have the ability to mentor and inspire the professional development of coaching faculty and athletics administrators; a commitment to support wellness and recreation in the holistic development of students; and have demonstrated strategic planning acumen. A collaborative management approach, coupled with superior communication and relationship-building skills; a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and social responsibility; strong planning and fiscal competencies; a familiarity with program development and assessment; and excellent problem-solving abilities are also desired.

Additionally, as articulated by Swarthmore College stakeholders, the successful candidate will ideally possess the following qualities and attributes:

  • a commitment to an intercollegiate athletics program that operates with the highest integrity and is focused on the holistic development of its scholar-athletes;
  • an inspirational, energetic, and collaborative leader, who fully embraces the Garnet Athletics contribution to the educational mission of Swarthmore College;
  • an inspiring champion and advocate for the coaching staff and athletic programs;
  • provide leadership in the hiring, supervision, and professional development of coaches, adjunct instructors, and administrative staff with a strong focus on creating a shared departmental vision grounded in equity, communication, and colleagueship and the efficient and focused attention on institutional strategic priorities;
  • have a significant understanding of fundraising and revenue development, collaborating with the office of advancement to continue to enhance fundraising priorities and execute fundraising strategies;
  • be motivated by thinking about and experimenting with what physical education, recreation, and intercollegiate engagement can mean for a diverse, 21st-century student body;
  • have a spirit of creativity and innovation;
  • demonstrate strong strategic planning skills and an ability to build consensus and support for short- and long-term goals;
  • serve as an effective ambassador for athletics and intentionally partner broadly across campus;
  • establish a rapport with staff, students, donors, alumni, faculty, community leaders, and other key constituents;
  • promote excellence, respect tradition, and support success;
  • a dedication to student learning and community wellbeing and exhibit the ability to lead, collaborate with, and motivate a diverse community;
  • be highly collaborative and adaptable, equipped to respond to changing dynamics as circumstances dictate;
  • demonstrate positive interpersonal skills of diplomacy, accessibility, and respect for the expertise and viewpoints of colleagues within and outside the department of athletics;
  • an ability to establish credibility with campus colleagues and believe deeply in the values of a liberal arts education, faculty governance, and the faculty-coach model.

Overview of the Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation Department

The aim of the Department of Athletics, Physical Education, and Recreation is to contribute to the total education of all students through the medium of physical activity. Swarthmore College believes this contribution can best be achieved through encouraging participation in a broad program of individual and team sports, aquatics, physical fitness, and wellness. The program provides an opportunity for instruction and experience in a variety of activities on all levels. It is Swarthmore’s hope that participation in this program will foster an understanding of movement and the pleasure of exercise and will enhance, by practice, qualities of good sportsmanship, leadership, and cooperation in team play. Students are also encouraged to develop skill and interest in a variety of activities that can be enjoyed after graduation.


Athletic Information

  • 22 varsity teams
  • Seven chartered club teams
  • 16 full-time head coaches
  • 40 percent of the student body participates in varsity, club, and intramural sports.
  • 20 percent participation rate in varsity intercollegiate athletics.
  • Swarthmore teams have been competing since the 1860s and have won eight national championships
  • Swarthmore is a member of a tri-college consortium with Haverford College and Bryn Mawr College in addition to a cross-registration agreement with the University of Pennsylvania.
  • Swarthmore’s student-faculty ratio is 8:1. Since Swarthmore is an undergraduate institution, graduate assistants do not teach classes.

Men’s Sports

  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Golf
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field

Women’s Sports

  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Cross Country
  • Field Hockey
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Track & Field
  • Volleyball


  • The Clothier Complex includes a softball field, baseball field, and a turfed stadium. The stadium has a synthetic grass surface for lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey. The field is bordered by a 400-meter track, poured in 2003.
  • Athletic facilities include the Cunningham Complex, which has four fields, six tennis courts, team locker rooms, and rest rooms. Rugby, ultimate frisbee, and other club sports also use these facilities.
  • The Lamb-Miller Field House features five full length indoor basketball courts, four indoor tennis courts, four badminton courts, three volleyball courts, baseball and softball batting cage, and a 215 meter banked tartan track.
  • The Matchbox, which opened in 2014, is a multistory, 21,000-square-foot fitness, wellness, and theater space. Featuring ultramodern equipment, as well as areas for free weights and cardio training, the facility demonstrates Swarthmore’s commitment not only to the wellness of the campus community, but to environmental sustainability.
  • The Tarble Pavilion features a 1,200-seat gymnasium with a white maple hardwood floor for basketball and volleyball. New bleachers and a sound system were added in 2006 and the court was refinished in 2016. Tarble also houses the sports medicine department, featuring a fully equipped athletic training room with three full-time athletic trainers.
  • The Mullan Indoor Tennis and Fitness Center, which received an Outstanding Facility Award from the USTA in 2001, features three state-of-the-art tennis courts. It was expanded to include additional space for athletic training, as well as the indoor Costonis ’92 Golf Center.
  • The Ware Pool is a 10-lane by 10-lane, yards-by-meters competition pool with an electric time system.


  • Over 300 All-American awards have been received by Swarthmore student-athletes, including Katie Jo McMenamin, who won the 1500-meter run at the 2016 Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
  • Swarthmore has had more than 25 student-athletes named CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, including 11 who have made the First Team.
  • Of the College’s 28 Rhodes Scholars since 1903, 17 have been student-athletes, including Caitlin Mullarkey in 2009.
  • Since the inception of the program in 2005, Swarthmore has had 204 student-athletes selected to the Philadelphia Inquirer Academic All-Area Team, including 26 Performers of the Year and two Male/Female Overall Performers of the Year.

Centennial Conference

The Centennial Conference, established in 1992, encourages athletic competition among national liberal arts colleges and universities that share similar academic aspirations and a commitment to the importance of the total educational experience of students engaged in sports. Intercollegiate athletics programs are an integral part of the life of the member institutions and flow from their educational objectives. Each institution provides a comprehensive, broad-based athletics program. All varsity sports are treated equitably, and every sport is important.

The Centennial Conference crowns champions in 24 sports and continues to sponsor intercollegiate programs of national prominence for women and men. Soccer, basketball, lacrosse, and track and field are just four of the sports in which Centennial schools have been synonymous with national excellence. On the average, Centennial members boast 21 varsity teams per campus, which is well above the national norm.

The Conference has had 17 teams win NCAA titles – Washington College men’s lacrosse (1998) and men’s tennis (1994, 1997), Ursinus College field hockey (2006), Franklin & Marshall College (2007, 2009), and Gettysburg College (2011, 2017, 2018) women’s lacrosse teams, Haverford men’s cross country (2010), Johns Hopkins women’s cross country team (2012-2013-2014-2016-2017-2019), and Johns Hopkins volleyball (2019).

The Centennial Conference is also equally proud of its student-athletes’ accomplishments in the classroom. In 2019-20, nine athletes were named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America teams, including two first-team selections, while two others were awarded NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarships.

The Centennial Conference is home to 11 schools in Pennsylvania and Maryland: Bryn Mawr College, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Gettysburg College, Haverford College, Johns Hopkins University, McDaniel College, Muhlenberg College, Swarthmore College, Ursinus College, and Washington College.

Student-Athlete Engagement

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), is an officially chartered student organization of student-athlete representatives from each varsity athletic program at Swarthmore College. SAAC serves as the governing body for student-athletes.

The mission of Division III SAAC, as defined by the NCAA, is to:

“…enhance the total student-athlete experience by promoting opportunity for all student-athletes;

protecting student-athlete well-being; and fostering a positive student-athlete image, while

maintaining the tenants of the Division III philosophy.”

Additionally, as members of NCAA Division III and the Centennial Conference, Swarthmore College SAAC provides the following as the primary mission of this organization:

  • promote varsity athletics as a valuable part of the Swarthmore College campus community;
  • increase campus awareness of varsity athletic programs;
  • cultivate and strengthen relationships between the athletic community and the campus community through SAAC sponsored endeavors;
  • support and act as a resource for Swarthmore College varsity student-athletes;
  • act as a liaison between student-athletes and the athletics administration;
  • cultivate a prosperous and supportive athletic community.

Athletes for Diversity and Inclusion

A coalition of student-led scholar-athletes and community members that address the needs of the athletic community associated with cultivating a diverse community, particularly the needs for underrepresented populations within the athletic community. The coalition has goals to become a larger working group for inclusive excellence within the athletic community.

Garnet Go Green!

Student-athletes, coaches, and staff from the Swarthmore College Department of Athletics are working together to reduce the environmental impact of the Garnet athletics programs. They have teamed up with organizations such as the National Resources Defense Council and the Green Sports Alliance in order to achieve this goal.

The purpose of the Garnet Go Green initiative is to ensure that the Swarthmore College Department of Athletics is doing its part to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Both short-term and long-term projects are being created in order to achieve this goal. The Garnet Athletic Department is also teaming up with athletic programs from other institutions to help move in a more sustainable direction.

STAND – Striving Towards A New Direction

Formed by scholar-athletes late in the spring of 2019, the mission of STAND is to reimagine the culture of masculinity in athletics at Swarthmore. The group meets regularly to discuss articles and videos relating to masculinity in sports. Post-COVID, the group has plans to expand discussions and events outward to reach more of the athletics community.

The Garnet Club

The Swarthmore College Garnet Club strives to support, grow, and develop Swarthmore College athletics through the engagement of alumni, students, parents, and friends of Garnet Athletics. Garnet Club members value academic excellence, athletic spirit, and the Swarthmore tradition of opportunity and participation through athletics. For those who wear the “S”, participation in athletics can have a profound and lifelong impact. The Garnet Club strives to support the goals and mission of Swarthmore athletes and the department of physical education, recreation, and athletics, pursuing programs to develop and enhance relations and engagement among all groups.

Thousands of Garnet athletes over the years have worn the “S” with pride. Seventeen of the 28 Rhodes Scholars the College has produced have been athletes. Dozens of academic All-Americans, some of whom set Division III records, hastened their growth to maturity in the pools and on the fields and courts of athletic competition.

By offering both moral and practical support, the Garnet Club strives to help our athletes reach their full potential and to give them the best possible college experience.

  • Make a gift to the Garnet Club. A financial commitment will support endeavors and projects intended to enhance the student-athlete experience through improved facilities, travel opportunities, live streaming of events, and recognition for athletic and academic achievement, among many other initiatives aimed at improving the athletics experience at all levels. Projects envisioned include a new press box and seating at the softball and baseball fields, a new scoreboard in the gymnasium, and opportunities for extended travel for teams. The Garnet Club is always happy to hear suggestions.
  • Volunteer to coordinate / host receptions for teams when they travel. Some of the most valuable opportunities for engagement occur when alumni, parents, and friends gather with current Garnet athletes and share their experiences.
  • Event Support. From coordination of the annual Hall of Fame induction dinner and ceremony to the annual Golf with the Garnet golf outing, to numerous Garnet Club events scheduled during the course of the year, these events all require assistance.
  • Game day support. The Garnet Ambassador program affords an opportunity for those alumni, parents, and friends who live in the community to engage on a regular basis through game day support. From announcing, statistics, video, or photography to serving as a guest team host, there are important roles that can be filled through Garnet Club service.
  • Community Service project coordination. Our coaches and students do a great deal of community service during the year. Whether working with Habitat, Philabundance, or Special Olympics, coaches spend countless hours seeking out and planning these initiatives. People can help by identifying, planning, and supporting these projects to continue the Garnet Athletics tradition of giving back through service.
  • Community awareness. Help plan special events that engage the community and generate interaction with youth teams to raise awareness of Garnet athletics programs to students, alumni, and the community at large.

Garnet Club Advancement Council

An extension of the Garnet Club, the Garnet Club Advancement Council is a volunteer group comprised of alumni, parents, and friends of Swarthmore College who promote the interests and well-being of Garnet athletics at Swarthmore—including varsity athletics, club sports, intramural athletics, physical education, and recreation.

Specifically, this group is tasked with supporting athletics through advice, counsel, financial support, volunteer activity, and programming. The group will advance the student-athlete experience in accordance with Swarthmore’s mission and goals.


Generosity— Enhance the affinity for Swarthmore athletics by making a personal financial commitment to Swarthmore athletics.

Advocacy— Help sustain and foster the athletics community by networking and advocating for the important role it plays in many students’ lives.

Mentorship— Connect with student-athletes to expand their experiences and promote a holistic approach to life at Swarthmore and beyond.

Engagement— Assist in building community on a regional and national level by engaging with members of the Swarthmore community to help raise awareness of and support for the Garnet. Serve as a sounding board to help protect and maintain the integrity of Swarthmore Athletics.


If you want to give back to Swarthmore athletics with your time, expertise, and financial support, the Garnet Club Advancement Council welcomes you as a volunteer—providing meaningful opportunities to positively impact the greater Swarthmore community.

Campus Resources

Enjoy free access to Swarthmore’s athletic facilities and attend athletic events and games free of charge.

Staying Connected

Enhance your affinity for the College by staying connected. Be the first to know what is happening and partake in discussions that affect Swarthmore athletics.


Have fun and enjoy reminiscing with your peers, friends, and other community members while being a catalyst for change and growth.


You have a stake in the matter! Your opinions, feedback, and advice can help advance Swarthmore athletics strategic goals and aspirations.


Build a network with student-athletes, alumni, staff, faculty, and friends to Swarthmore athletics.

Physical Education

The Physical Education (PE) Requirement

Students are encouraged to enjoy the instructional and recreational opportunities offered by the department throughout their college careers. As a requirement for graduation, all nonveteran students, not excused for medical reasons, are required to complete four units of physical education by the end of their sophomore year. In addition, all students must pass a survival swim test or complete one-quarter of aquatics instruction.

Physical Education (PHED or PE) courses

The department offers a broad curriculum in physical education. The course offerings include sport classes, fitness and recreational activities, swimming, and life skill programs.

Physical Education Dance courses

The Dance Program offers a wide variety of technique courses in African, Ballet, Contact Improvisation, Flamenco, Kathak, Modern, Taiko, and Tap. Dance classes may be used for academic or PE credit, but not both. Classes are awarded PE credit on a semester basis.

Student Activity Groups (SAG)

A student activity group is a student-run organization supported by Student Council and the Dean’s Office. Student activity group leaders are responsible for articulating guidelines and requirements, as directed by the physical education coordinator, to certify the group’s eligibility for PE credit. All inquiries about student activity groups and PE credit should be directed to the SAG Coordinator. There will be no retroactive PE credit given for student activity group participation. The following chartered student activity groups are eligible for PE credit in a typical academic year:

  • Capoeira
  • Coed Outdoor Volleyball
  • Folk Dance
  • Men’s Soccer
  • Squash
  • Swing Dance
  • Tango
  • Wing Chun Self-Defense Club


Club Sports

Swarthmore College offers many opportunities for students to participate in a variety of sports at a competitive level through club sports. A club sport is a chartered student organization that is run by students who have a common interest in a particular activity for competitive, recreational, or instructional purposes. There are currently seven groups recognized as club sports at Swarthmore. Depending upon the sport and the students involved, the club may operate much like a varsity sport, including serious intercollegiate competition, or be more informal and not as competitive. Clubs compete against others in both leagues and tournaments and may also be eligible for postseason play.

Recognized Club Sports Teams (2020-21)

Men’s Badminton

Men’s and Women’s Fencing

Men’s Rugby

Women’s Rugby

Men’s Ultimate Frisbee

Women’s Ultimate Frisbee

Group Exercise

The group exercise program provides a variety of classes including mind/body, strength, cardio, and dance. These classes are drop-in group exercise sessions that are focused on an organized workout. Group exercise classes welcome individuals of all fitness levels and are available at no additional cost to students, faculty, staff, and affiliates. All of the classes are continuously running throughout the semester and are designed and led by certified instructors. Lastly, there are no grades so come out, have some fun, and take care of yourself!

  • Advanced Pilates
  • Bodyweight Bootcamp
  • Cardio Barre
  • Core & Stretching
  • Gentle Yoga
  • High-intensity Interval Training
  • Pilates
  • Vinyasa Sculpt Yoga
  • Yoga Flow

Intramural Sports

Intramural Sports are a collection of one-day tournaments, special events, and leagues that facilitate recreational competition in addition to Varsity and Club Sports opportunities. Intramural Sports vary in their competitiveness from activity to activity and from team to team. The Intramural Sports Program provides the Swarthmore College community an opportunity to participate in activities as regularly as an individual’s interest, ability, and time permit. The program runs in an open format where individuals of all ability and identity are encouraged to participate

  • Basketball
  • Basketball (3-on-3)
  • Cornhole
  • Dodgeball
  • Esports
  • Kickball
  • Outdoor Soccer
  • Stock Market Challenge
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Volleyball

Leadership of the division

Sarah Willie-LeBreton, Provost and Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Sociology and Black Studies

Sarah Willie-LeBreton is the provost and dean of the faculty and professor of sociology at Swarthmore College, an elite liberal arts undergraduate institution in Southeastern Pennsylvania. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Haverford College in 1986, and Master of Arts (1988) and Doctor of Philosophy (1995) degrees from Northwestern University, all in sociology. Willie-LeBreton began her tenure track teaching career at Colby College (1991) in Maine, continued at Bard College (1995) in New York State, and moved to Swarthmore (1997) where she assumed the coordination of the Black Studies Program and was awarded tenure in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology. Before becoming Provost, Willie-LeBreton served the College as a department chair, interdisciplinary studies coordinator, Task Force on Sexual Misconduct chair, and Associate Provost. Her first book, Acting Black: College, Identity and the Performance of Race (Routledge 2003) focuses on the experiences of Black college alumni at a Predominantly White Institution as distinct from those who attended a comparative HBCU after the heyday of the Civil Rights Movement and during the national turn to the right under the Reagan Presidency. Her second book, Transforming the Academy: Faculty Perspectives on Diversity and Pedagogy (Rutgers 2016), is a collection of essays to which she has contributed and which she has edited on the challenges faced by previously unrepresented faculty who are now participants in dominant spaces in the American Academy. Her current book project, tentatively titled, Reconciling Order and Democracy: Work Lives of American Librarians, examines the challenges and contradictions of servant-professionals. Willie-LeBreton has been active in several professional associations and learned societies including the Eastern Sociological Society, Sociologists for Women in Society, the Association of Black Sociologists, and the American Sociological Association. She has served on several boards including the ASA’s Executive Office and Budget, Pendle Hill Quaker Center’s Board of Trustees, Haverford College’s Board of Managers, Corporation, Alumni Executive Council, and Board Council on Women, Benchmark School’s Board of Trustees (a K-8 school for children who learn differently), and the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, D.C. Interested in social inequality, higher education, social theory, African American culture, and literature as social analysis, Willie-LeBreton enjoys writing for public audiences, as well as academic ones. She considers herself an applied sociologist, and to that end, works with a broad range of groups and organizations to understand social dynamics and to develop strategies to move toward self-awareness, transformation, compassion, and inclusivity. A convinced Quaker, she lives with her family in the western suburbs of Philadelphia.

Institution & Location

Institutional Overview

Swarthmore College was created out of a concern of the liberal Hicksite branch of the Society of Friends (Quakers) to establish a place “under the care of Friends, at which an education may be obtained equal to that of the best institutions of learning in our country.”  The yearly meetings of Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York aided in establishing the College on 300 acres of wooded land six miles west of Philadelphia where students would have the advantages of “healthful country living, as well as intellectual and moral training.”

Interested Friends in these meetings summarized the needs they saw for a Hicksite college. Three were essential: coeducation, in keeping with Quaker teaching about equality of the sexes; emphasis on natural sciences, which were seen as a source of much practical knowledge; and a place where Quaker children could receive a “guarded” education.

Among the leading proponents of the new school were:

Benjamin Hallowell

An educator and Quaker minister who wrote the first pamphlet advocating the creation of Swarthmore College. A conscientious objector during the War of 1812, Hallowell once counted future-general Robert E. Lee among his students at a school he founded in Virginia. In 1859, he was named the first president of what became the University of Maryland and accepted the position on condition that the school’s farm not use slave labor and that he serve without salary.

Lucretia Coffin Mott

A Quaker minister and major figure in the reform movements of the 19th century who devoted her life to the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, school and prison reforms, temperance, peace, and religious tolerance. Her home in Philadelphia was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and her support of women’s education also led to the founding of what became the Medical College of Pennsylvania and Moore College of Art.

Martha Ellicott Tyson

An anti-slavery advocate, supporter of women’s rights, and elder of the Hicksite Quaker Meeting of Baltimore. She is also the author of the first biography of inventor and scientist Benjamin Banneker. In 1860, the meeting she held at her home led to the campaign for the college.

Samuel Willets

A successful Quaker businessman who supported the anti-slavery movement and women’s education. His substantial financial support helped establish the school and rebuild Parrish Hall after the fire of 1881. In his will, he bequeathed $100,000 to the college for the education of “poor and deserving children.”

Although non-Quakers have served on the Board since 1938, and although Friends now compose a small minority of students, faculty, and staff members, the College still values highly many of that Society’s principles. Foremost among them is the individual’s responsibility for seeking and applying truth and for testing whatever truth one believes one has found.

About Swarthmore, PA

Swarthmore is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania. Swarthmore was originally named “Westdale” in honor of noted painter Benjamin West, who was one of the early residents of the town. The name was changed to “Swarthmore” after the establishment of Swarthmore College. The borough population was 6,194 as of the 2010 census.

The borough was originally part of Springfield Township and grew up around Swarthmore College, which was founded in 1864. The advent of passenger rail service from Philadelphia in the 1880s greatly enhanced the desirability of the borough as a commuter suburb, and the borough was incorporated in 1893.

The Ogden House and Benjamin West Birthplace are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Swarthmore College provides learners of diverse backgrounds a transformative liberal arts education grounded in rigorous intellectual inquiry and empowers all who share in the community to flourish and contribute to a better world.

Swarthmore College commits to this mission by:

  • offering a robust, liberal arts curriculum connecting the arts, humanities, natural sciences and engineering, social sciences, and interdisciplinary programs;
  • fostering innovative research and creative production and encouraging collaboration among faculty, students, and staff;
  • building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive residential community that enriches experiences and expands worldviews;
  • stewarding resources through intentional daily and long-term sustainability practices, honoring Swarthmore’s location on the ancestral land of the Lenni Lenape people;
  • creating opportunities for education and growth among faculty, students, staff, and alumni by sharing in the multitude of talents of the College community, exploring the beauty of the natural environment, and actively engaging in the rich cultural diversity of Swarthmore’s region and the world;
  • committing to peace, equity, and social responsibility, rooted in Swarthmore’s founding as a co-educational Quaker institution.


Dr. Valerie Smith, President

Valerie Smith, a distinguished scholar of African American literature, is the 15th president of Swarthmore College. Since 2015, her priorities have included strengthening and expanding initiatives focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion; supporting curricular innovation; improving the campus’s facilities and infrastructure; ensuring the College fulfills its commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035; and strengthening relationships between the College and the region.

In service of those priorities and under President Smith’s leadership, Swarthmore recently concluded Changing Lives, Changing the World, the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in the College’s history. The campaign raised more than $440 million, including more than $110 million for financial aid. This unprecedented support for students will help the College continue to diversify its student body, including by supporting more low-income and first-generation students. Swarthmore remains one of the few colleges in the country to practice need-blind admissions — admitting students regardless of their ability to pay tuition.

The campaign has also helped fuel transformative facilities projects that provide new opportunities for collaboration and community building. In 2020, the College opened Maxine Frank Singer Hall, the new home of Swarthmore’s biology, psychology, and engineering departments. The building features flexible classrooms, state-of-the-art laboratories, and numerous spaces for collaborative activity. A new dining hall and community commons, currently under construction, will not only provide an expanded and reimagined social and dining experience for the community, but its innovative sustainable design will also facilitate the College’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

President Smith’s commitment to sustainability is also reflected in the President’s Sustainability Research Fellowship program. The fellowships match motivated students with small teams of staff and faculty mentors to research, develop, and implement high-impact sustainability projects in a yearlong course and associated internship.

In 2020, amid escalating instances of racial violence and xenophobia across the country, President Smith established the President’s Fund for Racial Justice, which supports programs focused on transformative racial justice and curricular and co-curricular initiatives that promote engaged scholarship, especially those in the local and regional communities — improving the lives of Black and Brown people and other minoritized groups.

President Smith is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, the Consortium on Financing Higher Education, and Fulbright Canada. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College, she earned her MA and PhD degrees at the University of Virginia. Previously, she was a professor of English and African American studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, the Woodrow Wilson Professor of Literature, founding director of the Center for African American Studies, and dean of the college at Princeton University. She is the author of more than 40 articles and three books on African American literature, culture, film, and photography, and is the editor or co-editor of seven volumes.

Academic Programs and Faculty

Swarthmore offers more than 40 courses of study, and provides the opportunity for students to design their own major. More than 600 courses are offered on campus each year.

A cohort of students choose to pursue their degree through the College’s Honors Program, unique in the U.S., which emphasizes independent learning in small seminar classes and culminates with oral and written tests given by external examiners who are experts in their field.

Swarthmore has 198 full-time tenure and tenure-track faculty. 100% of full-time faculty have a terminal degree in their field.

The student to faculty ratio is 8:1.

The Student Body

Total enrollment is 1,667, 810 male and 857 female.

Geographic Distribution of Students:

  • International 13%
  • Midwest 9%
  • Middle Atlantic 37%
  • Mountain States 2%
  • New England 8%
  • Southeast 10%
  • Southwest 5%
  • West 16%
  • S. Territories <1%

Racial and Ethnic Identity of Students:

  • African American 7%
  • American Indian/Native Alaskan <1%
  • Asian 16%
  • Hispanic 12%
  • Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander <1%
  • International Students 23%
  • Race and ethnicity unknown/unreported 3%
  • Two or more Races 7%
  • White 39%

Enrollment Information for the Class of 2023:

  • Number of Applicants 11,442
  • Number of Students Admitted 995
  • Number of Students Enrolled 415

Benefits Overview

  • Medical insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance
  • Disability programs
  • Long term care
  • Retirement plans
  • Flexible spending accounts
  • Life insurance
  • Tuition programs
  • Leave plans
  • Employee assistance program

For more information:

Application & Nomination

Review of applications will begin April 22, 2021, and continue until the position is filled. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Nominations for this position may be emailed to Dell Robinson at or Anne-Marie Kenney at Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

We are sensitive to how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting work and personal lives, and will offer the utmost flexibility throughout the interview process. The search committee expects to conduct initial interviews virtually for the safety and well-being of all involved. 

Visit the Swarthmore College website at

Swarthmore College actively seeks and welcomes applications from candidates with exceptional qualifications, particularly those with demonstrable commitments to a more inclusive society and world. Swarthmore College is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.