2012 Outstanding Educator
Star Swift is associate professor of management in the Seidman College of Business at Grand Valley State University. She joined the faculty in 1992, and currently teaches Labor and Employment Law, Arbitration, and Collective Bargaining courses, among others.
Swift earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Nazareth College in 1975, a juris doctorate from Cooley Law School in 1979, and continued her education at Michigan State University where she received a Master of Labor and Industrial Relations degree in 1985.
For more than ten years, Swift served as Assistant City Attorney and Labor Relations Supervisor for the city of Grand Rapids. Following her service as a city employee she joined Ferris State University as a legal advisor to the president and her cabinet.
Governor John Engler appointed Swift as chair of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC), in 1992 where she served for ten years. She has published articles on the matters of labor and industrial relations, among other works. Her awards include the University Teacher of the Year Award, the Impact Award, the Niemeyer Award, and she is also a fellow of the Michigan Bar Association.
Swift is celebrating her tenth anniversary as a Grand Valley faculty member. She works closely with her students researching the effects of technology on labor relations and employment law. Her students admire her for her industry knowledge. After years of practicing law, Swift has learned to encourage her students to stretch their way of thinking, to take risks, and make mistakes. She is also continuously connecting current students with her former students – now alumni – and opening the doors of opportunity for Lakers.
Star also embraces technology in the classroom. She has been leading the effort – alongside her students – in helping to make Grand Valley more sustainable by training campus departments to use ooVoo, a video conferencing program that has the ability to save the university thousands of dollars. The program has also improved student participation in the classroom while they at remote locations.
When she is not working on new initiatives and presenting with the ooVoo team, Swift spends time in the outdoors. In 2000, she kayaked the waters of Lake Superior on an 80-day expedition. She currently resides in Eastmanville with her partner, Laurie.
Star was honored with the Outstanding Educator Award for Spring 2012.
Updated March 2012.