Vice President and Dean of Students Jim Terhune announced today that Imaani El-Burki joined the Swarthmore community as assistant dean and director of the Intercultural Center (IC) on July 15.
As assistant dean, El-Burki will share responsibilities for all students including academic and personal advising. In addition, she will work with colleagues in the Dean’s Division and others to plan and implement programming in support of academic and overall student success at the College.
“I am thrilled that Imanni El-Burki is joining the Swarthmore community as assistant dean and director of the Intercultural Center,” Terhune said. “Dr. El-Burki brings extensive experience in building more inclusive communities and a deep understanding of the unique strengths and challenges of doing this crucial work in a small, residential college setting. I believe we are immensely fortunate to have her at Swarthmore and look forward to working with her in the coming years.”
As IC Director, El-Burki will provide advising, advocacy, and support for students and a broad range of student groups including those in the Intercultural Center Collective. She will also ensure strong ties between the Intercultural Center and the academic life of the College.
“Imaani’s ‘s approach to intercultural development is rooted in an inclusive excellence framework, driven by her experience as a faculty member and researcher, and informed by her work in the local community,” says Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Development T. Shá Duncan Smith “It’s rare that you find this combination in a person and I look forward to our work together.”
El-Burki comes to Swarthmore from Moravian College, where she served as the dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion. In that role, she led campus-wide inclusivity and equity efforts and was charged with creating, implementing, and supporting programming to ensure that all students were recognized as valued members of the campus community. She worked with individual students and student organizations as well as with staff and faculty affinity groups to develop opportunities for engagement and leadership growth in all areas of diversity.
“Dr. Imaani El-Burki is a wonderful teacher and scholar,” says Assistant Professor of Educational Studies Edwin Mayorga, a member of the search committee. “Her experience at the College alongside her transformative vision lead me to believe that the Intercultural Center's past, present, and future are in excellent hands. As a faculty member I look forward to working alongside her and the IC to provide critical experiences and perspectives that enrich the entire Swarthmore community.”
This is a return to Swarthmore for El-Burki, who first came to Swarthmore in 2008 as the Black Cultural Center’s graduate intern. She also served for two years as the program director of Project Blueprints, which provided academic and cultural enrichment for middle and high school children in Chester, Pa. El-Burki left Swarthmore in 2012 for a post-doctoral fellowship at Lehigh University. As a professor of practice and associate director of Africana studies in Lehigh’s Department of Journalism and Communication and Africana Studies Program, El-Burki developed and taught courses on media and race, global media and culture, and new media, race, and gender. El-Burki received her B.A. in communication from Temple University and completed her M.S. in communication and Ph.D. in communication, culture, and media at Drexel University.
“Swarthmore informed who I've become professionally and has shaped my devotion to working in support of students,” El-Burki says. “Serving as an assistant dean and the director of the IC truly feels like a return home. I have come full circle and I am excited and hopeful for the days ahead.”