ATLANTA—Georgia State University has named Sarah Cook, current interim dean of its Honors College, as dean effective July 1, 2022.
Since 2020, Cook led the college through the challenges of a pandemic in addition to a charged social and political climate, while continuing its progress to expand opportunities for academic excellence. Under her leadership, she shaped policies for recruitment and admission to the college and the presidential scholarship – resulting in the largest and most diverse first-year class and presidential scholar cohort.
“With a breadth of institutional knowledge, experience in implementing strategic vision and commitment to student success, I am confident that she will continue her excellent leadership of the Honors College, providing opportunities for all students,” said Nicolle Parsons-Pollard, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.
During the societal turbulence as she took on interim leadership of the college, Cook, a professor of psychology, also implemented a curricular initiative for first-year students to think critically about their role in responding to society’s needs.
“Her work has undoubtedly strengthened academics at the university, while also challenging Honors College students to become the critical thinkers we need to lead in our society,” Parsons-Pollard said.
Cook served as associate dean for the college from 2012 to 2020, working with the founding dean to implement two college-level strategic plans. Under her leadership, she devised the Herndon Human Rights Initiative, standardized the undergraduate assistantship program and added a programmatic component to the scholarship experience.
She also raised funds to endow four signature scholarships, including the Alonzo F. and Norris B. Herndon Human Rights Award, the Lonnie C. King Scholarship, the Judy DeLoache Scholarship, and the David E. Cook and Fr. Charles Robbins Scholarship.
Cook has led the significant growth of the Georgia State Undergraduate Research Conference (GSURC), with concerted efforts to include more majors across disciplines and forms of presenting research, scholarship and creativity, such as film and musical performance.
First appointed as a member of the Georgia State faculty in 1997, Cook’s other leadership roles include time as chair for the undergraduate studies committee of the Women’s Studies Institute (now the Institute for Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies), and director for undergraduate studies in the Department of Psychology.
She earned her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Virginia. As a community psychologist, Cook’s extensive research and scholarship has challenged assumptions about the nature of violence against women, and she has served on multiple expert panels in the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Justice.
Her research portfolio includes projects funded by the CDC, the National Institute of Justice, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health and the Georgia Department of Human Resources.
Cook cofounded the Administrator-Researcher Campus Climate Collaboration and its widely used, scientifically validated climate survey. In her service, she has engaged in public scholarship, educating large audiences about sexual assault through widely published columns in the news media.
During her time as chair of the Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault, she expanded sexual assault centers in underserved areas, and her work with agencies in Virginia was instrumental in developing the country’s first statewide database to track services provided by sexual assault and domestic violence shelters.
Additionally, she has a significant record of service to her field, including membership on the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Women during which she authored policy statements related to campus sexual assault, salary equity and other issues pertinent to women in psychology, and served as a consultant to numerous other organizations in the field.
To learn more about the Honors College at Georgia State, visit https://honors.gsu.edu.