Betsy Francis-Connolly, Ph.D.

Betsy Francis-Connolly Headshot
Dean, School of Health Sciences
Department of Population Health and Leadership
School of Health Sciences

Ph.D., Sociology, University of Michigan
M.S. Occupational Therapy, Boston University
B.S., Occupational Therapy, Quinnipiac University

About Betsy

Elizabeth B. Francis-Connolly is an interdisciplinary health expert with extensive experience as an educator and higher education administrator. She joined the University of New Haven in July 2022 as dean of its School of Health Sciences. Prior to arrival, she was dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Health and Science at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Conn.

At the University of Saint Joseph, Dr. Francis-Connolly helped launch a bachelor's degree in exercise science, an online master's degree program in public health, and a doctor of nursing practice program. She established an interprofessional education faculty working group, created a faculty committee to explore issues of equity and inclusion on campus, and developed an annual Dean's Teaching Excellence Award to recognize junior faculty members' achievements in teaching.

She previously served as dean of the Westbrook College of Health Professions at Maine's University of New England. She also spent 23 years at Eastern Michigan University, serving as director of its occupational therapy program and the School of Health Sciences director.

A prolific author and presenter, her research focuses on mothering across the life course and academic mentoring and leadership. She is chair of the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA, and has been a reviewer for the Journal of Occupational Science and the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.


*Francis-Connolly, E.B., & Sytniak, K. (2015). Mothering work and emerging adult children. Work. 50. 465-472

*Francis-Connolly, E.B. (2015). My academic leadership Journey. In S. B. Dunbar & K. Winston (eds), An Occupational Perspective on Leadership. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Inc.

*Winston, K.A., Dunbar, S.B., Reed, C.N., & Francis-Connolly, E. (2010). Mothering occupations when parenting a child with feeding concerns: A mixed methods study. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77. 181-189.

Rice, M., Reeves, G.D., & Francis-Connolly, E. (2010, September). Sabbaticals: Benefits, issues, and practical advice. Education Special Interest Section Quarterly, 20(3), 1-4.

*Howells, V., & Francis-Connolly, E.B. (2006 March). Constructing a mentoring web: Developing community-based practitioners. Home & Community Health SIS Newsletter.

*Francis-Connolly, E.B. (2004). Mothering across the lifecourse. In S. Esdaile & J. Olson (eds), Mothering Occupations: Challenges, agency, & participation. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis. 153-171.

*Schuster, E.O., Francis-Connolly, E., Alford-Trewn, P., & Brooks, J. (2003). Conceptualization and development of a course on aging to infancy: A life course retrospective. Educational Gerontology, 29. 841-850.

*Francis-Connolly, E.B. (2003). Constructing parenthood: Portrayals of motherhood and fatherhood in popular American magazines. Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, 5 (1). 179-185.

*Francis-Connolly, E.B.(2002). The unpredictability of habits and routines for preschool stage mothers. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 22.

Francis-Connolly, E.B. (2002). Book Review of Qualitative Research in Occupational Therapy. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 16 (4).

*Francis-Connolly, E.B. (2000). Toward an understanding of Mothering: A comparison of two motherhood stages. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 54. 281-289.

Francis-Connolly, E.B. (1999). A comparison of two motherhood stages: Experience, practice and meaning. Doctoral Dissertation. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan.

*Francis-Connolly, E.B. (1998). It never ends: Mothering as a lifetime occupation. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 5. 149-155.

Francis-Connolly, E.B. (1993). Book Review of Confusing Realities: A study on child sexual abuse and psychiatric symptoms. Contemporary Psychology, 38:10.

*Francis-Connolly, E.B. (1992). Cooking as an Evaluation Tool in Psychiatry. Occupational Therapy Practice, 3(2).

Francis-Connolly, E.B. (1992). Adjustment Disorders. In R.A. Hansen, B. Atchison, (Eds). Conditions in Occupational Therapy. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.

*Francis, E.B., Cermak, S.A. (1988). Comparison of two Subtests of the BaFPE. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 7(4).

*denotes peer-reviewed

Select Presentations

The Co-Occupation of Leadership: Why OTs make great everyday leaders. Invited Keynote Presentation for Quinnipiac University Occupational Therapy Department 50th Anniversary. October 2020

*Reflexivity in Qualitative Approaches: Uncovering multiple layers. Poster presentation with S. Dunbar & N. Furgang. Congress of Occupational Therapy Education, Galway, Ireland. June 2016.

*Best Practices for Academic Mentorship. Poster presentation with A. Lamb. AOTA Education Summitt, Atlanta, GA. October 2013.

*Swimming with the sharks: Success in getting promotion and tenure. Panel presentation with J. Case-Smith, R. Ideishi, P. Price, and M. Rice. AOTA Annual Conference. Philadelphia, PA. April 2011.

*Sabbaticals: Benefits, issues and practical advice. Panel presentation with M. Rice, & G. Reeves. AOTA Annual Conference. Orlando, FL April 2010.

*Transitioning from clinical practitioner to educator: Navigating new terrain. Panel presentation with P. Kearney & C. Johnson. AOTA Annual Conference. Orlando, FL April 2010.

*Taboo Talk: mothering, culture and meaning. Society for Medical Anthropology. New Haven, CT. September 2009.

*Best practice in Occupational Therapy Education: A panel exploring the scholarship of teaching and learning. Panel included E. Francis, A. Bilics, L. Wakeford, C. Haynes, S. Bondoc, L. George. AOTA Annual Conference. Houston, TX. April 2009.

*Mothering taboo talk: Occupation and meaning. Society for the Study of Occupation: USA annual conference. Ft. Lauderdale, FL. October 2008.

*Scholarship in Occupational Therapy Academia: Culture, context, contributions, and choices. Panel presentation with M. Rice, J. Gupta, & P. Kearney. American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference. Long Beach, CA. April 2008.

*Creating communities of scholars. Panel presentation with G. Dahl Reeves, G. Kielhofner, R. Ideishi, & J. Gupta. Education Special Interest Section, American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference. St. Louis, MS. April 2007.

*The Contribution of Qualitative Research in Evidence-Based Practice. Panel presentation with V. Howells. American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference. Charlotte, NC. April 2006.

*Taboo Talk: Motherhood, culture, and meaning. National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference. Phoenix, AZ. November 2005.

*Lessons learned from Teaching an Interdisciplinary Course on Aging. Poster Presentation with J. Brooks, D. Fox, & E. Schuster. The Gerontological Society Annual Scientific Meeting. Orlando, FL. November 2005.

*The Academy, the prison and the psychiatric hospital: How each affects mothering occupations. Panel with J. Olson, E. McKay, & C. Jose. The Society for the Study of Occupation:USA, 4th Annual Research Conference. Potomoc, MD. October 2005.

Sociology and Occupational Therapy. Lecture to Jonkoping University Occupational Therapy Students. Jonkoping, Sweden. April 2005.

Mothering in the United States: A comparison of two motherhood stages. Invited presentation to OT faculty, clinicians, and students at Jonkoping University. Jonkoping, Sweden. April 2005.

*Aging to Infancy: An interdisciplinary course. Paper Presented with J. Brooks at The Gerontological Society Annual Scientific Meeting. San Diego, CA. November 2003.

*The Unpredictability of habits for preschool stage mothers. The 13th World Congress of Occupational Therapists, Stockholm, Sweden. June 2002.

*Constructing a mentoring web: Developing community-based mental health practitioners. Poster presentation with V. Howells. The 13th World Congress of Occupational Therapists, Stockholm, Sweden. June 2002.

*Creating a research culture in a teaching institution. Poster presented with V. Howells. American Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference, Miami Beach, FL. May 2002.

*A Comparison of Two Motherhood Stages: Experience, Practice, and Meaning. National Council on Family Relations, Minneapolis, MN. November 2000.

*Team Research: Perspectives of consumers, students and faculty. Panel presentation with V. Dickie, D. Geiger, V. Howells, M. Krakosky, A. ODonnell, K. Rongus, D. Rosenthal. IAPSRS/AMI State Conference. Ypsilanti, MI. December 1998.

*A Comparison of Two Motherhood Stages. International Society for the Study of Personal Relationships Conference. Saratoga Springs, NY. June 1998.

*The Occupation of Mothering: Experience and meaning from a life course perspective. Invited paper. AOTF Qualitative Research Exchange, AOTA Conference, April 1997.

*From the darkness into the light: Mental health consumers experience of their day treatment program.  Michigan Occupational Therapy Association Conference, September 1996.

*Gender and Race/Ethnic Differences During the Transition to Parenthood. National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, November 1994.

*denotes peer-reviewed presentation

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