As dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Joanne Berger-Sweeney develops and directs the strategic vision that guides Tufts' largest school, and manages its day-to-day operations. A graduate of Wellesley College, Dr. Berger-Sweeney earned her Ph.D. in neurotoxicology from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and an M.P.H. in environmental health sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. She completed her postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Health (INSERM) in Paris, France.
Since arriving at Tufts in 2010, Dr. Berger-Sweeney has held many leadership positions and implemented initiatives aimed at strengthening the faculty and expanding the school's interdisciplinary programs. She has served as vice chair of the Diversity Council, and on committees to support efficiency in administrative management and strategic planning.
Dr. Berger Sweeney is deeply committed to furthering diversity, inclusion and interdisciplinary programs in education, believing that curricula must allow students and faculty to engage with topics that are important and relevant to a democratic society. As dean, she helped found the Center for Race and Democracy at Tufts, an academic center whose mission is to promote research, scholarship and discussion on the ways in which issues of race impact the lives of global citizens. She was instrumental in developing the Bridge to Liberal Arts Success at Tufts (BLAST) program, designed to support and retain students who may be first in their family to attend a four year college, and initiated faculty cluster hires to support interdisciplinary programs. She has also overseen the development of a Cognitive Science doctoral program at Tufts.
Widely acknowledged for her passion for teaching and mentoring, Dr. Berger-Sweeney has introduced faculty workshops for mentoring graduate students that focus on supporting students from diverse backgrounds. A distinguished scientist, Dr. Berger-Sweeney is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Science Foundation Young Investigator Award, a Lifetime Mentoring Award from the Society for Neuroscience (2006); she is a Fellow in American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS, 2012). She has contributed her services to the wider community, serving in a leadership capacity in many professional organizations, including current chair of the professional development committee for the Society for Neuroscience. She is on the board of advisors for the American Field Services and is trustee and chair of the academic affairs committee for Framingham State University.
Prior to Tufts, Dr. Berger-Sweeney was Associate Dean and Allene Lummis Russell Professor in Neuroscience at Wellesley College, where she oversaw 20 academic departments and programs. There, she led initiatives relating to faculty diversity, interdisciplinary programs, and non-tenure track faculty. She also served as director of Wellesley's Neurosciences Program.
Dr. Berger-Sweeney has authored more than sixty scientific publications and held grants from the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, as well as numerous private foundations.