University News

University of New Haven Names Interdisciplinary Health Expert New Dean of the School of Health Sciences

Elizabeth B. Francis-Connolly, Ph.D., whose research focuses on mothering across the life course and academic mentoring and leadership, will join the University of New Haven on July 15.

April 25, 2022

Elizabeth B. Francis-Connolly, Ph.D.
Elizabeth B. Francis-Connolly, Ph.D.

The University of New Haven announced today that Elizabeth B. Francis-Connolly, an interdisciplinary health expert with extensive experience as an educator and higher education administrator, has been named dean of the School of Health Sciences, effective July 15. Dr. Francis-Connolly joins the university from the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, where she is dean of the School of Interdisciplinary Health and Science.

Danielle Wozniak, MSW, Ph.D., provost, and vice president for a cademic affairs, announced the appointment.

"Dr. Francis-Connolly has a distinguished record of accomplishment as an educator and an administrator, creating new academic programs, generating significant external research funding, and creating innovative interdisciplinary initiatives that focus on student success," Wozniak said. "I am confident she will play an integral role in continuing the great work in our School of Health Sciences."

"I am excited to join the University of New Haven and help carry out its ambitious strategic plan," said Dr. Francis-Connolly. "I enjoy the academic program development and look forward to working with the faculty and staff of the School of Health Science and across the campus to create new academic offerings that will meet the healthcare needs of today and the future."

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 at St. Joseph. 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.

Francis-Connolly earned her bachelor's degree in occupational therapy from Quinnipiac University, her master's degree in occupational therapy from Boston University, and her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan.

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.