search index home contacts help

~ Wellesley College Appoints Two Associate Deans ~

For immediate release:
April 28, 2004

Mary Ann Hill,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Wellesley College has announced the appointments of Joanne Berger-Sweeney, biological sciences, and Adele Wolfson, professor of chemistry, as Associate Deans of the College, effective July 1, 2004. The announcement was made by President Diana Chapman Walsh and Andrew Shennan, the newly appointed Dean of the College who has served as associate dean since 1999.

Professor Berger-Sweeney has been a member of the Wellesley faculty since 1991. She received her B.A. from Wellesley and her doctorate in neurotoxicology from Johns Hopkins University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale in Paris, France. Berger-Sweeney is a distinguished and prolific neuroscientist whose research has been recognized by (among other honors) a National Science Foundation Young Investigator award. She is a Fellow of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society, and she directs the Society for Neuroscience’s Minority Neuroscience Fellowship Program, a federally funded training grant to give predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships to underrepresented minorities engaging in neuroscience research. At Wellesley, in addition to her teaching in the Biological Sciences Department, she has been one of the driving forces behind the college’s recently established neuroscience major. She has also served on a wide range of committees, including the Dean of Students Search Committee, the Board of Appeals, the Committee on Faculty Appointments, the President’s Advisory Committee, the Committee on Curriculum and Instruction, and the Presidential Search Committee.

Professor Wolfson has taught at Wellesley since 1985. She received her A.B. from Brandeis University and her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University. She has authored or co-authored (often with undergraduate students) an extensive list of articles. Her research interests center around protein structure and function, and her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Wolfson has held fellowships at universities in France and Australia as well as at Columbia, MIT, and Brandeis. Among other awards, she has received a National Science Foundation Career Advancement Award and an American Association of University Women Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship. Wolfson has directed Wellesley’s program in biological chemistry and has also been an influential and widely respected leader in biochemistry education beyond Wellesley. She was co-founder of Wellesley’s Minority Mentorships in Science program. She was faculty director of the Science Center from 1999 to 2002, and is currently the faculty director of the Pforzheimer Learning and Teaching Center. She has served on numerous committees including the Committee on Faculty Appointments and the Committee on Curriculum and Instruction.

"Joanne and Adele are outstanding scholar-teachers who have served with distinction in a variety of important capacities and have earned the respect of faculty and other colleagues throughout the college,” stated Walsh and Shennan in a written announcement of the appointments. “They possess in abundance the personal, intellectual and administrative qualities that the dean’s office will need in order to advance the ambitious agenda that has emerged in the process of selecting a new dean of the college, in the work of the Committee on Academic Excellence, and in many other conversations and committees over the past year."

"This agenda will challenge us to pay renewed attention to the structure of our departmental and interdepartmental programs as well as to our academic program writ large; to make new efforts to recruit and retain a talented, committed and diverse faculty; to re-commit ourselves to the highest standards of academic excellence (for faculty and students alike); and to find new ways of strengthening the sense of community and collegiality within the faculty,” continued Walsh and Shennan. “In all these respects, Joanne and Adele have the experience and capacity to make a significant impact. Both are highly regarded and productive scientists, with a deep commitment to the teaching and mentoring of students and to the goal of making Wellesley a more diverse and inclusive community. Both have extensive international experience and have been engaged intensively in the work of their respective professional organizations. Here at Wellesley both have consistently demonstrated a breadth of interest and of perspective that, notwithstanding the proximity of their own disciplines, amply qualify them to play this important leadership role for the college as a whole. We are grateful to Joanne and Adele for agreeing to take up this service and look forward with great pleasure to working with them in their new positions."

Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal-arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 68 countries. For more information, go to


Return to the Office for Public Information Homepage

Return to the Wellesley College Homepage

  • Office for Public Information
  • Date Modified: May 19, 2004
search index home contacts help