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Dena Phillips Swanson

Dena Phillips Swanson

Associate Professor
Counseling & Human Development
LeChase Hall 492
(585) 273-3341
PhD, Emory University (educational/developmental psychology)
MEd, Georgia State University (counseling/rehabilitation)
BA, Emory University (psychology)

Dena Phillips Swanson is an associate professor of counseling and human development and creator of the research consortium INSPIRE (Investigating Strategies for the Promotion of Positive Identity and Resilience), which aims to engage in culturally-relevant, developmental research with domestic and international investigators to inform institutional practices. As an applied developmental psychologist, she examines psychological vulnerability in relation to identity processes, cultural values, and multiple stressors. While focusing primarily on adolescence, her research also addresses these processes from early childhood through adulthood. Schools, workplaces, and faith-based institutions are examined as primary contexts in which significant stressors affecting identity are encountered or mitigated.
As an extension of her research, Swanson consults with organization leaders and investigators on implementing culturally and developmentally appropriate practices, providing training as needed to maximize their sustainability. She is a faculty development and diversity officer for the University of Rochester and a certified leadership coach and faculty mentor with Ramerman Leadership Group. Additionally, she has a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence to improve how early adolescents perceive and respond to conflict and with the Gateway to College Foundation to improve high school completion rates and college potential for students nationally. 
Swanson is a former postdoctoral fellow and co-director of the Center for Health, Achievement, Neighborhood Growth and Ethnic Studies (CHANGES) at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research is supported by the William T. Grant Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She has authored numerous articles and book chapters and edited Adolescent Development in a Global Era to present multiple domains of vulnerability and resilience impacting adolescents’ developmental trajectories. She was a researcher for the CNN 360° series Black or White: Kids on Race and is past chair of The Black Caucus of the Society for Research on Child Development. She has served on the editorial board of Child Development and currently serves on the editorial board of Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research.  Her active professional affiliations include the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA), Society for the Study of Human Development (SSHD), and the International Society for Research on Identity (ISRI).

In the News

ED425 Minority Youth Development in Urban Contexts
ED429 Theories of Human Development
EDU470 Multicultural Perspectives in Counseling
ED481 School, Family, and Community Relations
ED523 Mixed Research Methods
EDU557 Selected Theories of Human Development
EDU563 Advocacy, Consulting, and Systems Change as Counseling and Human Development Practice