Lea R. Dopson has been appointed dean of The Collins College of Hospitality Management. Her appointment begins June 30.
This is a homecoming for Dopson, who was a member of the Collins College faculty from 1993 to 2001.
“I have admired the Collins College for many years, both during my time on the faculty and in the years since,” Dopson says. “It is widely known for its preeminent status in hospitality and tourism education.”
Dopson served for the past 12 years as chair of the hospitality & tourism management department at the University of North Texas. During her time at the helm, the number of students in the program grew more than 300 percent, and full-time faculty grew more than 100 percent.
Her interest in international education is borne out by her creation of a master’s degree program in international sustainable tourism between the University of North Texas and Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza in Costa Rica. The program has been ranked among the top 20 tourism programs in the nation by TheBestSchools.org. In addition, she developed student and faculty exchange relationships with institutions in Australia, China, Thailand and Costa Rica, and initiated partnerships in Spain, Italy, Chile, Ecuador and England.
Before entering the academy, Dopson worked for the Sheraton and Harvey hotels in Texas as a food and beverage manager, and as a corporate food buyer.
“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Dopson back to the Cal Poly Pomona family,” says Provost Marten denBoer. “Her academic excellence, her knowledge of international education, and her professional experience will all serve The Collins College well.”
Dopson holds a doctoral degree in administration in higher education with an emphasis in curriculum development from the University of Houston. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas Tech.
She succeeds Ed Merritt, who has served as interim dean since July 15.