Cynthia Toms

Cynthia Toms

Associate Professor of Kinesiology
Phone: (805) 565-6025
Office Location: Murchison Complex Office

Office Hours
Tuesday 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
& by Appointment

Global Health Education

B.S.Biology, Messiah College
M.S Applied Anatomy and Allied Health, Boston University
Ph.D. Higher Education, Dissertation Focus Community Impacts in Volunteerism in Latin America, Azusa Pacific University

Personal Information:
Cynthia Toms, Ph.D., is assistant professor of Global Studies and Kinesiology at Westmont College. She teaches courses in the area of food systems, global health, sociology of movement, global studies and special populations. As a former four-time All-American NCAA athlete and collegiate coach, her career began with teaching biomechanics and exercise physiology. However, after meeting her husband, a former professional triathlete at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, her journey carried her toward the field of global health education.

Before coming to Westmont, she served as assistant director of the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame, where she oversaw academic immersion courses for more than 1,000 graduate and undergraduate students annually. For three years, she served as the associate director and a faculty member at the Uganda Studies Program in Mukono, Uganda. She previously taught at Peking University and Huija Private College in Beijing, China.

Dr. Toms also directs Westmont’s Global Studies Fellows Program. Since coming to Santa Barbara in 2013, she has partnered with the Food Bank of Santa Barbara to research food security, along with her students, on the Westside of Santa Barbara. Dr. Toms serves on the Board of Child Family Health International, is a co- investigator for the Global Engagement Survey serves on the editorial board for, a Web-based initiative of scholars amassing evidence-based tools and peer-reviewed research to advance best practices in global service, community-university partnership, and sustainable development.

Her research focuses on the intersection of student volunteerism and international development and her dissertation, entitled “Global Development Through International Volunteerism and Service-Learning: Who’s Saving Whom?” was awarded Dissertation of the Year by both the Comparative International Education Society (CIES) and the International Association for Research in Service-learning and Community Engagement (IARSLCE).

Select Publications

“Global Service-Learning Foundations and Tools for Emphasizing Local Global Health     Education” McKinnon, T, Toms Smedley, C., & Evert, J. (Jan, 2017) Annals of Global Health. (Jan, 2017) 0.716 ; Impact Factor (TRJR): 1.417

“Fair Trade Learning” McMillan, J., Morris, C P, Spitz, B. & Toms Smedley, C. in  Global Health Education: From Theory to Practice (in Press, University of Chicago)

World Christianity Series: : A History of Missions in East Africa. Kollman, P., & Toms Smedley,   C. (Forthcoming 2016) (Textbook Series, Pepperdine University Press). Malibu,        California.

Toms Smedley, C. (2016) “Women, Development, and International Volunteerism” in Larsen (Ed), International Service Learning: Engaging Host Communities. (Routledge Press).

Hartman, E., Lough, B., Toms Smedley, C., & Reynolds, N. (2016). “Program Factors, Intercultural Learning, Civic Engagement, and Critical Thinking: The Global Engagement Survey.” Journal of Studies in International Education.

Lough, B., & Toms Smedley, C., (Under Review). “Global Service-learning in Institutions of Higher Education: Concerns from a Community of Practice.” Higher Education.

“Fair Trade Learning in Global Health.” Paris, C., McMillan, J., & Toms-Smedley, C. in Theory    to Practice-Ethics and Pedagogy in Global Health Practice (Eds. Evert, J., & Arya, N.) Forthcoming 2018, Boca Raton: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Publishers.