Dr. Imani M. Cheers is the New SMPA Associate Director

July 1, 2020

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SMPA is excited to announce that Dr. Imani M. Cheers is the new Associate Director. This will be the first time in SMPA history that an African American woman is in this position. 

In this role, Dr. Cheers will have an extensive amount of responsibilities. She will oversee faculty personnel matters such as new hires, sabbatical requests, and contract renewal. She will also be responsible for class scheduling and hiring adjunct faculty. Dr. Cheers will work closely with Dr. Silvio Waisbord, the new Director of SMPA as well as faculty and staff across the school to help provide excellence for all students and faculty. 

Dr. Cheers has always advocated for diversity and inclusion at SMPA especially for those of color. In 2018, Dr. Cheers started a mentoring program for Black women students, staff, and faculty called “Sisters in the Academy”. The program now boasts a membership of close to 200 participants. She was the first person of color at the school to be promoted to Associate Professor.


"It is an honor to step into this leadership role at such a critical time. If you want to see substantive change at the institutional level, it is important to be in charge. I look forward to working with my colleagues across the University on issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity."

Dr. Imani M. Cheers

Associate Director, SMPA

Dr. Cheers joined SMPA in 2013 and has been a trailblazer in the field. She is an award-winning multimedia producer, director, digital storyteller, and filmmaker. She is also the director of academic adventures with Planet Forward, an environmental storytelling initiative at SMPA. As a professor of practice, Dr. Cheers uses a variety of media including video, photography, television, and film to document and discuss issues impacting and involving people of the African Diaspora. 

"It is an honor to work with Dr. Cheers to strengthen SMPA’s commitment to academic excellence, diversity and inclusion, provide excellence in education, and support students in educational and career pursuits.”

Dr. Silvio Waisbord

Director, SMPA 


Congratulations to Dr. Cheers!