Office of the President

Appointment of Dr. Cynthia Pickett as Presidential Associate for Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer

October 25, 2022

Dear Campus Community:

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Dr. Cynthia Pickett as Presidential Associate for Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer (CDO). In this role, she will serve as a member of my Cabinet, providing leadership to the university in our work to advance equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as core values, and collaborating with partners across the campus to foster a meaningful sense of belonging for all members of the Cal Poly Pomona community. Dr. Pickett will join CPP effective December 12, 2022. 

Dr. Pickett comes to Cal Poly Pomona from DePaul University, where she currently serves as Associate Provost for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and Associate Professor of Psychology. At DePaul, she developed and implemented a range of policies and practices that promote inclusive hiring, foster supportive academic environments, and engage in proactive retention efforts to build a diverse academic community. She previously served as the Associate Vice-Provost for Faculty Equity and Inclusion at the University of California, Davis.  

A social psychologist by training, Dr. Pickett conducts research in the areas of social identity, intergroup relations, the self, social cognition and social inclusion and belonging, with her recent work focusing on promoting inclusive scientific practices. She serves as president-elect of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Pickett is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and is also a member of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the Ohio State University and her A.B. from Stanford University. Dr. Pickett’s background and experience make her especially well-suited to support the further growth and development of EDI efforts at Cal Poly Pomona. 

I wish to thank members of the search committee for their commitment and dedication to both engaging the campus in essential discussions about the role of the CDO on our campus and identifying and recommending Dr. Pickett for this important leadership role, especially as the search was extended beyond its original timeline

Mohamed Aly, Assistant Professor, College of Engineering
Wendy Córdova, Interim Senior Coordinator, Cultural Centers
Daniel Foncello, Vice President Associated Students, Inc.
Hend Gilli-Elewy, Interim Dean, College of Education and Integrative Studies
Mario Guerrero, Associate Professor and Chair, College of Letter, Arts and Social Sciences
Nicole Hawkes, Chief of Staff (Chair)
Victor Okhuysen, Professor, College of Engineering
Cristina Runnalls, Assistant Professor, College of Science
Zahra Sotoudeh, Associate Professor, College of Engineering
Brandon Tuck, Director, Office of Admissions
Wei Yu, Professor and Chair, College of Business
Saccara Lim, Office of the President (Administrative Support)

I am thrilled that we have been able to recruit Dr. Pickett to Cal Poly Pomona and ask you to join me in welcoming her to our university community and offering your partnership and collaboration to help align and advance our EDI efforts. Each of us has an important role in strengthening the welcoming and inclusive environment of our campus, and with Dr. Pickett’s leadership, I am confident that we will achieve even greater progress.   


Soraya M. Coley
Ph.D. President