Dr. David Harris Cohen


Dr. David Harris Cohen was named University of the People Provost in December 2009 following a distinguished career as a neurobiologist and university administrator.

From 1995 to 2003, Dr. Cohen served as the Vice President and Dean of the Faculty for Arts & Sciences at Columbia University, where he was also professor of Biological Sciences and professor of Neuroscience in Psychiatry. As Vice President, he oversaw 29 departments of instruction in the humanities and physical and social sciences, and the Deans of Columbia College, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the School of International and Public Affairs, the School of General Studies, Continuing Education and the School of Arts reported to him.

Before joining Columbia, Dr. Cohen was at Northwestern University from 1986 to 1995, initially as the Vice President of Research and Dean of the Graduate School, and then as Provost. He also held professorial appointments in the Departments of Neurobiology and Physiology. Under his leadership, the university’s research budget nearly tripled from $59 million to $170 million.

Throughout his career, Dr. Cohen has worked with a number of organizations in a variety of capacities. He has served as the Chairman of the Association of American Medical Colleges, President of the Society for Neuroscience and as a board member for both the Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He has also served in a number of advisory capacities for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Cohen received his A.B. magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard in 1960 and his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley in 1963.