About Our Dean - University of Houston
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Daniel P. O’Connor, Ph.D.

Daniel P. O’Connor, Ph.D.


Daniel P. O’Connor, Ph.D. is dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) and professor, health and human performance. As the chief academic and administrative officer of CLASS, he oversees 14 academic departments, nine academic areas and programs, 13 academic centers, six clinical service units and over 688 faculty members. CLASS is the largest and most diverse of the 16 academic colleges on the UH campus, with over 12,000 students.

Dean O’Connor served in a part-time faculty position in the health and human performance department (HHP) in 2003 and later joined HHP in a full-time capacity in 2007. During his tenure, his appointments include serving as interim dean, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (2020-21); associate dean for faculty and research, College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (2018); department chair, health and human performance (2016); president of the UH Faculty Senate (2018); and fellow and executive board member, Helping Everyone Achieve a Lifetime of Health Research Institute (2016).

O’Connor received his doctorate in kinesiology from the University of Houston. He also holds a master's degree in physical therapy from Texas Woman’s University and a bachelor's degree in human performance and health sciences from Rice University.

Dr. O’Connor is a past interim director of Texas Obesity Research Center and past assistant professor, associate professor and adjunct faculty of health and human performance. As a distinguished researcher, he has been associated with a total of $17 million in externally funded research awards from sponsors, including NIH, CDC, NASA and the U.S. Department of Education. He has collaborated with more than 100 investigators around the world in research, publication and education. In 2014, O’Connor was awarded the UH Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship or Creative Activity.

Dean O’Connor is an accomplished scholar and author whose specializations in interdisciplinary research agenda include evaluating the effectiveness of health-related interventions, explaining individual variation in health outcomes and investigating the effects of physical activity on health and risk factors. He has collaborated in research across many diverse fields and topics, including obesity, health and wellness, public health, kinesiology, exercise science, rehabilitation, movement disorders, physiology and surgery. O'Connor is the author of "Clinical Pathology for Athletic Trainers: Recognizing Systemic Disease," 3rd ed. (with Thorofare, NJ: Slack Incorporated, paperback 2015).

Native Houstonian, exercise enthusiast and sought-after media expert on fitness, O'Connor has been featured in Runner’s World Magazine, and his favorite quote is from Ph.D. advisor and mentor, UH Professor Emeritus Andrew S. “Tony” Jackson: “Get moving!”

O’Connor became interim dean of CLASS in July 2020 and dean of CLASS in December 2021.

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About Our College


CLASS is the heart of the University, dedicated to spurring intellectual curiosity, creativity and transformative education. Encompassing humanities, social sciences and health sciences, CLASS is truly a mosaic of disciplines that broaden perspectives, inspire potential and advance possibilities yet unimagined.  

Welcome to the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) at the University of Houston! Home to 14 academic departments, CLASS is the largest and most diverse of the 16 academic colleges at the University of Houston.

Undergraduate and graduate majors cover the full range of the human experience – from anthropology to human space exploration sciences. The College also offers social and cultural analysis in African American, Mexican American, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality, and other interdisciplinary studies.

CLASS extends its scholarship to the University, the city of Houston and the nation through its policy, research and cultural centers, which include the Hobby Center for Public Policy, the Center for Immigration Research, and the University Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic.

With over 688 faculty members, CLASS educates nearly 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students, preparing them for future studies and professional achievements.

Facts & Figures

  • 2,000Course Offerings
  • 688Faculty Members
  • 70+Degree Offerings
  • 14Academic Departments
  • 12,000+Students