Colleen O’Connor, PhD

Vice Dean for Academic Affairs

Colleen O'Connor, Ph.D, is the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs for Alice L. Walton School of Medicine in Bentonville, Arkansas. She started this role in June 2020. Dr. O'Connor has more than 30 years of experience in health sciences and medical education leadership. Prior to her new position at the Alice L. Walton School of Medicine, Dr. O'Connor was an associate professor and the Associate Dean for Curricular Affairs at Duke University School of Medicine. She was responsible for the development, implementation, and ongoing renewal of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences innovative four-year curriculum.

She served as the faculty lead for the school's reaccreditation. Dr. O'Connor is one of the inaugural Distinguished Members of the Duke Academy for Health Professions Education and Development. She is also recognized for her expertise in learning space design and construction. She was instrumental in the construction of the Mary Duke Biddle Trent Semans Center for Health Education, a 104,000-square-foot health education center for the Duke University School of Medicine.

Prior to Duke, Dr. O'Connor worked at the University of Arizona College of Medicine where she helped build the Program in Integrative Medicine. Her responsibilities included writing the curriculum for the two-year fellowship for MDs. Dr. O'Connor served for many years on a national advisory board with the Association of American Medical Colleges. She has worked internationally in medical education helping to establish Duke's sister school in Singapore, the Duke-NUS Medical School. Dr. O'Connor worked with a medical school in Tanzania to enhance their curriculum and pedagogical approaches through a grant funded by the National Institutes of Health. She served as an international consultant to assess improvement processes at medical universities in Kazakhstan. She has been invited to speak at national and international conferences. Dr. O'Connor earned her Ph.D in Higher Education from the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on innovation and change in medical education. She has been principal investigator on several major grants to study curricular innovation, methods for facilitating curricular reform, interprofessional education and models for effectively funding educational programs.

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