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Today@Sam Article

Scientist Named Acting Dean Of College

June 14, 2011
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Jerry CookSam Houston State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs David Payne has announced the appointment of Jerry Cook as acting dean of SHSU’s College of Sciences.

Cook, who currently serves as associate vice president for research and sponsored programs, will take over for Jaimie Hebert, who will begin his tenure as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs on Aug. 1.

“Dr. Cook is an outstanding research scientist and has been an outstanding leader in his role as associate vice president for research and special programs,” Payne said. “He will bring great strength to the position and continuing strong leadership for the college.”

Payne said Cook has agreed to serve in the position for a year while a national search for a new dean is conducted.

“I am honored to be given the opportunity to serve as dean,” said Cook, who began his career at SHSU as a visiting assistant professor of biology in 1999. “I have a great appreciation for the faculty and programs I will be working with and I think it is an exciting opportunity to serve as dean of these departments.

“I am fortunate that I am following a dean who has been a great leader for the College of Arts and Sciences. The result of this is that we have strong departments that are positioned to excel,” he said. “I am looking forward to being part of the continued growth and increasing prestige of the sciences at SHSU.”

Cook earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, in geology and zoology, respectively, from the University of Southern Colorado and his doctorate in entomology from Texas A&M University.

In addition to teaching at SHSU, he has concurrently served on the faculty at Texas A&M as an adjunct member since 2003. He was recently promoted to full professor in the department of biological sciences.

Cook’s administrative experience includes serving as interim chair of the biological sciences department in 2008 and interim dean of Graduate Studies in 2009. He has served as associate vice president for research and sponsored programs since 2008.

He has published 42 peer-reviewed, refereed journal articles and two books and book chapters. In addition, he has presented more than 50 papers at scientific society meetings and conferences, as well as participated in almost 40 invited presentations, across the country.

The Texas State University System Board of Regents approved the realignment of the College of Arts and Sciences into the Colleges of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and Sciences last August. The movement of departments to the new colleges took effect June 1.

Cook said he does not see the separation of the colleges as creating a dramatic effect on how the departments operate but that it will allow the deans to focus their efforts on a smaller number of departments that are in areas more aligned with their areas of expertise. He said he is looking forward to the opportunity to serve in the role and to work closely with the people who are a part of the College of Sciences.

“I am very appreciative of all the support I have been given at SHSU as I moved from a faculty member, to serving as a chair in biology, to my position as associate vice president for research, to my short stint as interim graduate dean and now becoming interim dean of the College of Sciences,” he said. “Sam Houston State University really is a great place to work and being an academic is a great profession. I feel very fortunate that I have been given these opportunities and been able to work with great people.”



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