Robin Panneton named associate dean for undergraduate programs at College of Science
A new position within the college, this associate dean will provide the college leadership on all matters concerning undergraduate programs related to curriculum, instruction, recruitment, and advising. Panneton also will implement the goals and philosophical approaches set by Dean Sally C. Morton.
“Dr. Panneton brings deep experience in developing and nurturing undergraduate programs to the College of Science administration team,” said Sally C. Morton, dean of the College of Science. “She will work closely with our chairs, departments, dean’s office staff, and our dedicated university partners in attracting and inspiring greater numbers of more diverse individuals into science.”
Panneton’s duties will include overseeing undergraduate instruction and advising; providing leadership for undergraduate curricular development and assessment; providing leadership for recruiting, retention and placement programs for undergraduates; and managing selection and awarding of student scholarships.
Panneton’s research in the psychology focuses on perceptual development across infancy and early toddlerhood, including speech, language and emotion perception, and social engagement. She and her students use both behavioral, using eye tracking, and psychophysiological, monitoring heart rate change, methods to investigate infants’ processing and learning of language-relevant information.
She also worked closely with College of Science administration as director of the university’s Office of Degree Development and Support, working toward the creation of several new undergraduate degrees, including systems biology, microbiology, neuroscience, nanoscience, and computational modeling and data analysis. These degree lines would eventually form the Academy of Integrated Science and the School of Neuroscience in the College of Science.
“This experience helped me appreciate the burgeoning power of cross-disciplinary and translational approaches to higher education opportunities for future scientists,” Panneton said. “Tomorrow’s scientists must be able to live and work in both deep and broad perspectives to foster better understanding of our complex world.”
She added, “As an educator and a mentor, I love to see students get energized and empowered by their own exposure to new theoretical frameworks, ways of thinking and reasoning, tools and techniques for discovery, and applications to real-world problems.”
Panneton joined the Department of Psychology in 1989. She is the director of the Infant Language, Emotion, Attention, and Perception Laboratory; a faculty affiliate of the School of Neuroscience, the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research, and the Child Study Center; a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences; and a Fulbright Faculty since 2008.
She earned her a bachelor’s in psychology in 1978 from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and master’s and doctoral degrees in developmental psychology in 1981 and 1985, respectively, from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.