SIT names two new associate deans for undergraduate studies

Announcement Date: July 9, 2024   |   Faculty, SIT Study Abroad

School for International Training has hired Dr. Kimberley Coles and Dr. Sonalini Sapra as its newest associate deans for undergraduate studies.

“We eagerly welcome Dr. Coles and Dr. Sapra as associate deans for undergraduate studies at SIT,” said Dr. Said Graiouid, provost and dean of faculty. “Together, they combine decades of experience in teaching, scholarship, and academic administration that will be instrumental in supporting undergraduate faculty success, creating conditions for student thriving, and contributing to SIT academic innovation and thought leadership. Dr. Coles and Dr. Sapra are already fully engaged in SIT’s projects of decolonizing the curriculum, designing program-based methods for inclusive learning, and supporting faculty in creating high-impact experiential learning opportunities to enhance the student’s academic experience.”

A head shot of a woman smiling, wearing glasses and an orange sweater.
Dr. Kimberley Coles

Dr. Coles is a cultural anthropologist with expertise in international humanitarian aid and development and state-society relationships in local and global contexts. Prior to joining SIT, she was the associate provost of institutional effectiveness at the University of Redlands, where she designed and led their reaccreditation process, advised faculty and administrators on assessment models, and helped improve data gathering and collection efforts. She has long championed cultural immersion, interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and close faculty-student mentorships.

“I am thrilled to join SIT because of their commitment to intercultural immersion and inquiry,” Dr. Coles said. “In my experience, they have a long-established history and reputation of being the best in study abroad and really mentoring students to be challenged by discomfort and by their surroundings. I am most looking forward to supporting faculty to be as creative and innovative as possible as they adapt to the needs of new generations of students.”

A head shot of a woman smiling, wearing glasses and a green scarf.
Dr. Sonalini Sapra

Dr. Sapra is a political scientist by training. Her research and teaching interests include environmental and climate justice, forced migration and refugee resettlement, Dalit studies, gender and international development, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. Sapra previously taught at Kenyon College, Saint Mary’s College, Saint Martin’s University, and Guilford College, where she most recently served as an associate director for the Center for Principled Problem Solving and Excellence in Teaching. Her work centered on supporting faculty and staff in developing anti-racist pedagogy, inclusive course design, experiential project-based learning, and community-engaged teaching.

“What excites me most about joining SIT is the opportunity to be part of an institution that doesn’t just study the world’s pressing issues, but actively works to address them through critical approaches to education, research, and community engagement,” Dr. Sapra said. “It’s a chance to bring together my academic interests, commitment to social justice, and my belief in the transformative power of education—collectively aimed at fostering the next generation of changemakers who are critically aware of systemic injustice and feel empowered to create equitable solutions.

“I’m particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity to build upon and advance SIT’s existing work in decolonizing pedagogies,” she said. “I look forward to collaborating with colleagues to further develop and implement these critical approaches, which are essential for reimagining global education, challenging traditional power structures, and centering systemically marginalized voices and knowledge systems.”