Robert Cook

Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Professor of Psychology

Robert Cook was named dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in March 2014, after serving as interim dean for six months. Dean Cook began his career at Tufts in 1986, when he joined the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor. He was promoted to full professor in 1999, and served as department chair from 2005 to 2011. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and a past president of the Comparative Cognition Society.

Dean Cook has studied animal cognition and behavior for more than 25 years. His comparative research, supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, has focused on stimulus control, discrimination learning and memory in animals. In particular, he has been very interested in the mechanisms of visual perception and discrimination learning in pigeons and starlings, and their comparative relations to our own perception of the world.

Dean Cook received a B.S. in psychology from Ohio State University and his doctorate in biopsychology from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston before coming to Tufts. He is co-founder and current publisher of Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews and has served on the editorial boards of the top journals in animal cognition. He has also been very active in broadening the impact and public visibility of the scientific work in the discipline through the Internet with the publication of the multimedia ebooks Avian Visual Cognition and Animal Spatial Cognition.


Sarah Herchel

Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Associate Dean Sarah Herchel works to foster excellence, inclusion, and innovation at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. As a member of the strategic leadership team, she partners with faculty to create training and development opportunities, identifies areas for new academic programs, and is the liaison for the School’s accreditation efforts.   

Associate Dean Herchel has a deep knowledge of higher education administration, and of graduate education in particular. Prior to arriving at Tufts in 2013, she held positions at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and at Babson College’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. She has an M.A. in English from Lehigh University, an Ed.M. from Boston University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Lesley University. Her areas of research interest include adult learning, assessment, and higher education administration.


Karen Panetta

Dean of Graduate Education for the School of Engineering, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Dean Karen Panetta received a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Boston University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Northeastern University. Her research focuses on developing efficient algorithms for simulation, modeling, signal and image processing for security and biomedical applications. Dean Panetta is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and was awarded the 2013 IEEE Award for Distinguished Ethical Practices “for exemplary contributions and leadership in developing ethics and social responsibility in students.” Her volunteer service with the IEEE has brought much collaboration and increased exposure to Tufts University. Her commitment to promoting the interests of the university is also evident in her service on the AS&E Executive Committee and as its liaison to the Trustee University Advancement Committee.

Dean Panetta is the recipient of several NASA and National Science Foundation Research Grants, including the NSF CAREER Award. As the first female electrical engineer to be given tenure in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, Dean Panetta continues to promote the interests of women in her field. She was the worldwide director for IEEE Women in Engineering, the largest international professional organization dedicated to promoting women engineers and scientists, from 2007-2009, and served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Women in Engineering magazine. She is the faculty adviser to the Tufts student chapters of both the Society of Women Engineers and the IEEE, and is founder of the nationally acclaimed “Nerd Girls” program that promotes the engineering disciplines to young students.

Dean Panetta has been recognized for her commitment to education with awards such as the Madeline and Henry Fischer Best Engineering Teacher Award in 2003, the IEEE Major Educational Innovation Award in 2010, and the Anita Borg Institute Women of Vision Award for Social Impact in 2011. In 2010, she received the American Association of Engineering Societies' Norm Augustine Award for communicating the excitement of engineering through outreach activities that promote careers in science and engineering, and encourage youth to improve the environment and change the lives of individuals and communities. Most notably, in 2011 President Barack Obama awarded Dean Panetta the Presidential Award for Science and Engineering Education and Mentoring.