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Joanne Berger-Sweeney named dean at Tufts University

July 21, 2010
Tufts University has named neuroscientist Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Ph.D., M.P.H., as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences – the largest school at the university – effective August 23, 2010.

Berger-Sweeney was the Associate Dean of Wellesley College, where she was also the Allene Lummis Russell Professor in Neuroscience. She has been on the faculty at Wellesley since 1991 and was named Associate Dean in 2004.

In addition to her scholarship, she is widely recognized for her efforts to increase diversity in the biological sciences.

Her honors include being recognized in 2010 as one of the most influential African-American biomedical scientists in America by the HistoryMakers, a national nonprofit research and educational organization; being named a Fellow by the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience; and receiving a Lifetime Mentoring Achievement Award from the Society for Neuroscience in 2006 and a National Science Foundation Young Investigator award.

"Joanne Berger-Sweeney is an esteemed researcher, a passionate teacher and mentor, and a talented administrator whose leadership is characterized by collaboration, creativity, and inclusiveness – attributes that are also central to the values of Tufts University and the School of Arts and Sciences," said Tufts Provost and Senior Vice President Jamshed Bharucha. "She will be an outstanding addition to an exceptional team."

As Associate Dean of Wellesley College, Joanne Berger-Sweeney oversaw 20 academic departments and programs. From 2004 to 2006, she also served as director of the Neurosciences Program at Wellesley and helped spearhead the creation of that cross-disciplinary major. She sought to improve faculty recruitment, retention, and professional development, and was responsible for strategic planning initiatives relating to faculty diversity, interdisciplinary programs, and non-tenure track faculty.

Berger-Sweeney also demonstrated a strong commitment to other issues that are priorities for Tufts, including need-blind admissions and increased financial aid.

Her passion for teaching is reflected in the impressive accomplishments of the undergraduates, graduate students, and fellows she has guided.

She has been active in the Minority Mentoring Program at Wellesley for more than a decade. From 1995 to 2006, she directed the Society for Neuroscience’s Minority Neuroscience Fellowship Program, a federally-funded training grant to provide predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships to underrepresented minorities engaging in neuroscience research.
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