University of Utah Provost Mitzi M. Montoya announced that Ruma Chopra has accepted an offer to serve as dean of the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. Chopra is a professor of history, co-founder and director of the university-wide honors program at San Jose State University, and a 2021-2022 American Council on Education Fellow. She will begin her new role on July 1, 2023.
While at San Jose State University, Chopra served as associate dean of research in the College of Social Science, acting as the primary contact for retention, promotion and tenure standards. In launching the HonorsX program at the university, she secured Adobe’s partnership to help fund the project, and continued to manage the program budget, supervise staff, lead marketing initiatives and respond to faculty and student concerns. Before pursuing a doctorate degree and path toward higher education, Chopra worked for seven years in high-tech, holding consulting and managerial positions at Intel, Cisco, Bell Labs and Google. She is a scholar of the American Revolution and American slavery and has authored three books on the subjects.
“Throughout her career, Dr. Chopra has displayed a thoughtful appreciation for research and interdisciplinarity that will be an asset to the School for Cultural and Social Transformation,” Montoya said. “I am grateful that her search for equity and aspirational models in higher education have brought her to the U. I look forward to working with Dr. Chopra as she continues to work toward building a more just world.”
Chopra was selected after an extensive national search, which was chaired by Marla DeJong, dean of the College of Nursing, and Edmond Fong, chair of Ethnic Studies.
Chopra will lead the School for Cultural and Social Transformation, known as Transform, in its mission to examine the way bias, bigotry, inclusion and equity are centered and thought about. The school was formed in 2016 through a merger of ethnic studies, gender studies and disability studies. It has received ongoing support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, including a $600,000 grant for the Pacific Island Initiative, which was renewed with a $1 million grant in 2022. The school has 33 faculty members who are highly recognized in the community of academics.
“I am excited to join Transform,” Chopra said. “A school that incorporates interdisciplinary and intersectional learning as its foundation is remarkable, and I look forward to learning how my passion and experiences can be of service to the University of Utah.”