Elizabeth "Betsy" Cooper was named dean of the University of Hartford's The Hartt School in August of 2016.
Prior to coming to The Hartt School, Cooper was Director of the Dance Program at Hunter College in New York City. From 2012-2015, Cooper served as the Divisional Dean of Arts in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, overseeing the Schools of Music, Dance, Drama, Art + Art History + Design; the Meany Center for the Performing Arts; the Henry Art Gallery; and the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (a cross-departmental program in musical theater which she co-founded).
From 2001-2013, Cooper directed the Dance Program at the University of Washington and led curricular and performance collaboration with the School of Music and with Digital Arts and Experimental Media. In 2004, Cooper received the Distinguished Teaching Award.
Before her career in higher education, Cooper performed with classical and contemporary companies nationally and abroad, including Nationaltheater Mannheim, Matthew Nash Music and Dance, Makarova & Company, and Connecticut Ballet. She was a member of the Seattle Dance Project for seven seasons, and her choreography has been commissioned by Seattle Dance Project, Connecticut Ballet, Bucknell University, Western Washington University, and Arc Dance Company, where she was the resident choreographer from 2007-2011.
Cooper's scholarly research probes at the intersections of dance, politics, and censorship of the body in mid-20th century concert dance and the Hollywood film industry. She has published articles on the Federal Dance Project in Theatre Research International, Dance Research Journal, and The International Dictionary of Modern Dance. Her recent work, "The Body Censored: Dance, Morality and the Production Code during the Golden Age of the Film Musical," appears in Dance on Its Own Terms: Histories and Methodologies, published by Oxford University Press. Cooper is on the editorial review board of the Journal of Dance Education and co-edited a special topics issue on writing and performing in the performing and visual arts for the journal, Across the Disciplines.
Cooper earned her MFA in Dance from the University of Washington and her BA, with honors, in Archeological Studies from Yale University.