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Announcing New Assistant Dean and BCC Director


Karima Bouchenafa

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to announce that Karima Bouchenafa will join the Swarthmore community on Monday, Feb. 27, as assistant dean and director of the Black Cultural Center (BCC).

As assistant dean, Karima will share responsibilities for supporting all students in academic and personal advising. In addition, she will work with colleagues in the Student Affairs Division and elsewhere to plan and implement programming to promote academic and overall student success at the College.

As BCC director, Karima will lead the center in advising assistance, advocacy, and support for students and groups in the BCC. She will also partner with faculty to ensure strong ties between the BCC and the academic life of the College, as well as work with Black alumni to further build relationships with the campus community. 

Karima comes to Swarthmore from Thomas Jefferson University, where she served as the assistant director of the Honors Institute. In that role, she provided academic advising, mentoring, and other support and retention services to students. She also designed co-curricular programming, led the Honors Student Research Assistant initiative, and worked with faculty to develop curricula across the university.

Prior to Jefferson, Karima taught and advised a diverse range of students at Rutgers University, Villanova University, Community College of Philadelphia, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, among others. She also has served her various communities by holding leadership positions in a number of nonprofit service organizations.

Karima earned an A.B. in English literature and African American studies from the University of Virginia and an M.A. with distinction in English literature from Georgetown University. She anticipates completing an Ed.D. program at Rutgers University in May.

Karima’s commitment to diversity is evident in her teaching and academic advising philosophy and practice. Throughout her career, she has been intentional about creating academic and conversational spaces that prioritize interpersonal respect and that encourage and support authentic inquiry.

I also write to express my deep appreciation for Associate Dean of Inclusive Excellence Tiffany Thompson, who chaired the search, as well as the members of the committee: Imaani El-Burki (Intercultural Center), Philippe Kame ’23, Windsor Jordan Jr. ’07 (Admissions), Nathan Miller (Dean of Students’ Office), James Padilioni (Religion), Ashley Roberts (Human Resources), Tracey Stewart (Music & Dance), and Eliana Swai ’25.

I know that you will join me in making Karima feel welcome.


Tomoko Sakomura
Interim Vice President for Student Affairs and Professor of Art History