Headshot of Vanita Shastri

Vanita Shastri, PhD

Former Dean of Global Education & Strategic Partnerships at Ashoka University
Meru Education Foundation

Vanita Shastri is the former Dean of Global Education & Strategic Partnerships at Ashoka University in India. In this role she led all International partnerships and developed prospective institutional partners, managed all global mobility and student exchanges for Ashoka. Vanita put in place a successful Visiting Students’ Programme (VSP) for summer, semester or an academic year, including student exchanges and short-term study programs for international students from partner’s schools and beyond. In addition, to her global work she led all summer programs including the summer semester and unique study programs at Ashoka.

Under the university’s new strategic plan, she spent time recruiting faculty, building out strategic partnerships and collaborations to further the mission of Ashoka. In close association with Ashoka’s global partners, she worked to build opportunities for international exposure, research and teaching for Ashoka faculty. She also facilitated international visiting faculty to engage with Ashoka community through teaching, research stays and short exchange visits. Furthermore, she collaborated with different stakeholders to build and run enrichment programmes, like executive education and training programs at the university.

Vanita designed a training program, GAPP - Graduate Admissions Preparatory Program, which advises, guides and mentors Ashoka students and alumni in making successful applications for masters/PhD programs post Ashoka. She also founded the Young Scholars Program (YSP) at Ashoka, which is a unique summer program that introduces high school students to a liberal arts & sciences education. Prior to this she was the Founding Dean of Undergraduate Programs at Ashoka University in which role she laid the cornerstone of academic excellence, put end-to-end processes and systems to establish an outstanding undergraduate student experience for Ashoka students. She brought several global best practices to Ashoka and managed and mentored various teams at Ashoka University.

Vanita has a Ph.D. from Cornell University and has taught at Boston University, University of Massachusetts and Wellesley College in the US. She was a policy consultant at Harvard University, where she wrote a number of policy papers, including one on the 'Software Policy of India' for the Government of India.

Vanita is an educationist, an entrepreneur and an artist. She has founded two non-profit organizations, including the Meru Education Foundation in USA and the Habitat Learning Center in Delhi, India. She is the author of two books, The Salem India Story and a co-edited book called, 'Social Responsibility and Environmental Sustainability in Business.'