Following a comprehensive national search, Elizabeth (Beth) Dolan, professor of English and Health, Medicine and Society at Lehigh, has been named Lehigh’s Dean for the College of Health. She has served as interim dean for the College of Health since 2020.
“I am very pleased to appoint Beth as the next dean of the College of Health,” said Provost Nathan Urban. “She is a thoughtful leader who has shown remarkable ability in starting and developing new programs and, as interim dean, in growing the College of Health. Her proven record of results promises to advance the College of Health and the university with a deep commitment to student outcomes, educational innovation and faculty success.”
"It has been an absolute honor to serve in the role of interim dean of the College of Health for the last two and a half years,” Dolan said. “I am thrilled to work with COH faculty, staff and students, as well as partners across the university and in the community, to advance the mission of College of Health. Through education and research, the College of Health is dedicated to improving health outcomes for individuals, communities and populations and, in particular, is committed to advancing health equity."
A key success of Dolan’s leadership as interim dean has been the development of external partnerships for the College of Health. Under her leadership, the college has partnered with healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, government entities and corporations in order to expand faculty research opportunities and provide internship and experiential learning opportunities for students.
During the past two and a half years, Beth has been critical in providing strategic leadership for the College of Health. During her tenure as interim dean, she has overseen significant growth in faculty and academic programs. She has developed key external partnerships with healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, government entities and corporations in order to expand faculty research and provide internship and experiential learning opportunities for students. She and her team have worked to grow the college’s undergraduate and graduate programs, including intercollegiate programs. She has focused her faculty colleagues on expanding undergraduate recruitment, fostering the development of the undergraduate curriculum, launching graduate programs and recruiting an outstanding and diverse group of faculty, among other critical tasks.
As dean, Dolan plans to guide the college in building upon research strengths in community health, environmental health, indigenous health, population health, and health data science to improve health outcomes for global populations and communities, including marginalized populations in the Lehigh Valley. Dolan will also lead the college in establishing a new strategic research cluster in disability independence, a focus that brings the development of assistive technologies into conversation with research on the multiple determinants of health for people with disabilities, and with health policy and disability ethics.
In May 2023, the first 10 students graduated under Dolan’s leadership.
A specialist in health humanities, Dolan studies the expression of suffering in literature and in life from the eighteenth century to today. Her previous administrative roles have included serving as the founding director of the Health, Medicine, and Society Program at Lehigh, the chair of the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Medical Humanities Association, and the first deputy provost for graduate education at Lehigh. She won Lehigh's Junior Faculty Teaching Award, the Frank Hook Assistant Professorship for Excellence in Mentoring and Teaching and the Hillman Faculty Award for Excellence in Administrative Work.
Dolan earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in literature at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, where she was also the senior fellow in literature and medicine in the Department of Social Medicine, in the School of Medicine for three years. She has been at Lehigh since 2001.