Daemen University is now structured into three academic units – or colleges – within the university, with a fourth in the process of accreditation. Each college has a specific academic focus and, following a national search, Daemen has appointed an experienced founding dean to lead each of the particular schools.

Here’s a look at the members of Daemen’s new “Dean Team” and the leadership experience they bring to advance the mission of the university.

Greg Ford, DPT, Ph.D., OCS

The College of Health Professions

Dr. Greg Ford is founding dean of the new College of Health Professions. As dean, Dr. Ford oversees the Departments of Athletic Training, Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Physician Assistant Studies.

A familiar face on campus, Dr. Ford has been with Daemen for more than 20 years and has served as chair of the physical therapy department since 2011. He also serves as director of the DPT program. In addition, he has served as both president and vice president of Daemen’s Faculty Senate and is currently a commissioner for the national Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Dr. Ford earned his Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, and Doctor of Physical Therapy from Daemen. He earned his Ph.D. at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Throughout a 24-year teaching career at Daemen, Dr. Ford has taught as adjunct professor, assistant professor, associate professor, and he has continued to teach at Daemen before being appointed dean.

“While we are structured into different colleges, that does not mean I will work in a vacuum as dean – we will work collaboratively across colleges to provide a well-rounded education for students,” Dr. Ford explains. “That said, I hope to build a culture of pride within the College of Health Professions as a key piece of the Daemen University experience.”

A resident of Grand Island with his family, Dr. Ford is also a PT practitioner for a private practice in Amherst, New York.

Lisa Rafalson, Ph.D.

The College of Health, Human Science, and Business

Lisa Rafalson, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa Rafalson is founding dean of the College of Health, Human Science, and Business. As dean, Dr. Rafalson oversees the Departments of Behavioral Science, Business, Accounting, Paralegal Studies, Health Promotion, Leadership & Innovation, Public Health, and Sociology and Social Work.

Dr. Rafalson joins Daemen from D’Youville University where she served as the dean of the School of Health Professions. Dr. Rafalson has over a decade of higher education leadership experience, having held positions as a chairperson, director, and assistant vice president for Academic Affairs.

“I was really attracted to Daemen’s mission which includes a strong liberal arts education and a focus on developing creative and ethical leaders,” Dr. Rafalson says. “I think one of the strengths I bring to the table is experience in making connections between departments and programs to make the student experience even more inclusive.”

A native of Chicago, Dr. Rafalson earned a Bachelor of Art in Spanish Language/Literature from Loyola University, and a Master of Science and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University at Buffalo. She also completed graduate coursework in public health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Prior to her career in higher education, she was a federal employee at the Social Security Administration as a bilingual claims representative and later at a private legal firm specializing in representing disability claimants. She resides In Buffalo with her family.

Heather Maloney-Stassen, Ph.D.

The College of Arts, Sciences, and Education

Heather Maloney-Stassen is founding dean of the new College of Arts, Sciences, and Education. As dean, Dr. Maloney-Stassen oversees the Departments of Education, English, Entrepreneurship, Math, Psychology, History and Political Science, Liberal Studies, Local and Global Sustainability, Modern Language, Natural Sciences, Philosophy and Religion, and Visual and Performing Arts.

Dr. Maloney-Stassen comes to Daemen from Cazenovia College in New York where she served in numerous leadership roles within the institution’s Division of Humanities and Natural Sciences. Most recently she was director of the Communication Studies Program, as well as interim program director for the school’s English Department. She also served as an associate professor of communication studies and joined the college as an assistant professor. In addition,

Dr. Maloney-Stassen taught at Syracuse University and Hamilton College, and she served as a senior lecturer and online course developer at Western New England University.

Dr. Maloney-Stassen earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Ohio Northern University, a Master of Science degree in communications from Ithaca College, and both a Master of Arts degree in communication studies and a Ph.D. in rhetoric and public culture from Ohio University.

“Serving as founding dean is exciting and it’s very rewarding to be in a leadership position with the amazing student-focused, research-driven, award-winning faculty we have at Daemen,” Dr. Maloney-Stassen says. “We are collaborating on building the strategic plan for the college in line with Daemen University as a whole, aimed at creating meaningful experiences for our students and the community.”