Colleen O’Connor

Vice Dean for Academic Affairs

Colleen O'Connor, PhD, is the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs for Alice L. Walton School of Medicine. Prior to joining the School in 2020, 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 that school’s innovative four-year curriculum. 

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

Prior to her work at Duke, O’Connor worked at the University of Arizona College of Medicine where she helped build the Integrative Medicine program. Her responsibilities included writing the curriculum for a two-year fellowship for physicians. 

O'Connor served for many years on a national advisory board for the Association of American Medical Colleges. She has experience in international medical education, helping to establish Duke's sister school in Singapore, the Duke-NUS Medical School, and working with a medical school in Tanzania to enhance their curriculum and pedagogy through a National Institutes of Health grant. She also served as a consultant to assess improvement processes at medical universities in Kazakhstan.

O’Connor, who earned a Doctor in Philosophy in Higher Education from the University of Arizona, has been invited to speak on innovation in medical education at national and international conferences. 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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