Cynthia Toms, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
(805) 565-6025

Office Location

Murchison Complex Office

Office Available

Wednesday  9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.


Global Health Education 

Research Interests

Intersection of student volunteerism and international development


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. Dr. Toms also directs Westmont's Global Health in Uganda Semester program and co-advises Westmont's global studies fellows program and minor.

Before coming to Westmont, she held posts as assistant director of the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame, associate director and faculty at the Uganda Studies Program in Mukono, Uganda, and taught at Peking University and Huija Private College in Beijing, China.

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 globalsl.org, 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).

Recent Publications

Kollman, P., & Toms, C. (2019). Understanding world christianity: Eastern Africa. Fortress Press.

Lough, B., & Toms, C. (2018). Global service-learning in institutions of higher education: concerns from a community of practice. Globalisation, Societies, and Education, 16(I).

Toms, C. (2018). From Homemaking to solidarity: global engagement as common good in an age of global populism. Christian Higher Education, 17(1-2).

McMillan, J., Morris-Paris, C., Spitz, B., & Toms, C. (2018). Fair trade learning. Global Health Experiential Education from Theory to Practice, (Arya & Evert, eds.). Routledge Press.

McKinnon, T., Toms, C., & Evert, J. (2017). Service-learning as a framework for competency-based local/global health education. Annals of Global Health, 82(6), 1034-1042.

Hartman, E., & Lough, B.; Toms, C., & Reynolds, N. (2015). The beauty of global citizenship: the problem of measurement. Going Global: The theory, practice, evaluation, and experience of education for global citizenship (Friedman, Haverkate, Ooomen, Park, Sklad, eds.). de Drvkkery, Netherlands, 125-143.

Toms, C. (2015). The economic circle: impacts of volunteering and service-learning on three rural communities in Costa Rica. International Service-Learning: Engaging Host Communities, (Larsen, ed.). Routledge Press.

 Hartman, E., Lough, B., Toms, C., & Reynolds, N. (2014). Assessing global learning: intercultural learning, civic engagement, and critical thinking at Westmont College. The Global Engagement Survey. Globalsl.org.