Vinita Dhingra has been chosen Cal Poly Pomona's new executive director of diversity. Dhingra, previously a communication professor and executive associate for undergraduate studies at Cal Poly Pomona, spent the past year serving as acting executive director while a national search was being conducted.
University President Bob H. Suzuki made the formal announcement on July 15.
“Cal Poly Pomona is a powerful testimonial to the idea that there can be unity with diversity. Such diversity helps provide students a rich educational experience while at the same time reflecting the existing conditions of our changing, multicultural world,” said Suzuki. “Vinita Dhingra has experienced and been a part of this university's diversity efforts since first coming to campus 16 years ago. I am confident she will help continue such progress and success.”
In taking over the permanent position, Dhingra said she is looking forward to continuing support and enhancement of the university's commitment to diversity.
“I am pleased to have this opportunity to serve Cal Poly Pomona in this vital role. Diversity has always been a core value for me, and it has been very rewarding to have taught and worked over the past 16 years at a campus with such a diverse student body,” said Dhingra. “I am delighted that Cal Poly Pomona's strategic plan and mission place diversity at the heart of the university's institutional identity. In today's global society, I feel it is imperative for us to celebrate diversity as a rich resource, and to value its enrichment of the educational experience for all of our students, faculty, and staff.”
Dhingra earned a doctorate in education from the Claremont Graduate School in 1992 and a master's in journalism and mass communication from Indiana University in 1973. She also earned a bachelor's of journalism post-graduate degree (1971) and a bachelor of arts in English Literature, English, economics and political science (1970) from Panjab University in Chandigarh, India.
After initially coming to Cal Poly Pomona as a lecturer in the communication department in 1986, Dhingra later became a tenure-track faculty member and progressed through the ranks to full professor in 1997. She also served as the department's assistant chair between 1991-96. She came to Academic Affairs in 1996 as a faculty associate serving as a coordinator for Faculty Affirmative Action and Academic Programs, and became the executive associate for undergraduate studies in 1998.
In 1999-2000, Dhingra was selected through a national competition to be an American Council of Education (ACE) Fellow. The ACE Fellows program is the premiere national leadership development program in higher education. She participated in the LEAP (Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc.) Leadership Development Program in Higher Education in 2001. She was also selected to attend the Summer Institute for Women in Higher Education Administration at Bryn Mawr College in 1997. She has made numerous presentations at diversity-related conferences and has also participated in the Institute for Diversity Trainers at the University of Oklahoma's College of Continuing Education.
Born in New Delhi, India, Dhingra traveled with her family throughout India during her childhood. “I grew up in Calcutta, Bombay, Bareilly, Kanpur, Mukteswar, Nainital (in the foothills of the Himalayas), and Chandigarh, where I spent the last four years before coming to the United States in 1971,” said Dhingra.
She and her husband, Ashok Dhingra, currently live in San Dimas. They have two children: a 23-year old daughter, Amita, and a 19-year old son, Ashvin.