Quinnipiac University
female student leads course to seniors

Age-Friendly University

An age-friendly world enables people of all ages to actively participate in community activities and treats everyone with respect, regardless of their age. Quinnipiac is proud to be a member of the Age-Friendly University (AFU) Global Network, which consists of 51 institutions of higher education around the world. Each of these institutions has embraced the principles of age-friendliness and is committed to upholding equity and inclusion across their programs and policies.

Principles of an Age-Friendly University

Quinnipiac University values continued learning throughout all stages of life. We are committed to age-inclusivity, where members of every generation are acknowledged, respected and given the necessary resources to thrive—both individually and as a group. Established by Dublin City University as part of their development of a global network of partners, these core principles of age-friendly universities have shaped how Quinnipiac approaches teaching and learning models for students.

  • Encouraging the participation of older adults in all the core activities of the university, including educational and research programs.

  • Promoting personal and career development throughout the second half of life and supporting those who wish to pursue second careers.

  • Recognizing the educational needs of all older adults, ranging from those who left school early to those who wish to pursue graduate or doctoral programs.

  • Facilitating intergenerational learning via the sharing of expertise between learners of all ages.

  • Widening access to online education and providing multiple opportunities to participate.

  • Ensuring that the university’s research agenda is informed by the needs of an aging society and promoting public discourse on how higher education can better respond to the varied interests and needs of older adults.

  • Increasing the understanding among students regarding the longevity dividend and the increasing complexity and richness that aging brings to our society.

  • Expanding access for older adults to the university’s range of health and wellness programs as well as arts and cultural activities.

  • Engaging actively with the university’s own retired community.

  • Encouraging regular dialogue with organizations representing the interests of the aging population.

Quinnipiac’s Committee on Age Inclusivity

Two OT students teach an older adult how to take a selfie using a cell phone

This committee works with administrators, deans, faculty and staff to bring the principles of an Age-Friendly University to life across campuses.

Many members of the Quinnipiac faculty have advanced degrees, training and board certifications in gerontology and geriatric professions. In addition to continuing active programs of teaching, clinical practice and research related to aging, this cohort — known as the Quinnipiac University Committee on Age Inclusivity — prioritizes five areas of emphasis across Quinnipiac's Mount Carmel, York Hill and North Haven campuses.
Priorities include:

  • Awareness: Raising awareness of the impact of ageism and ways to foster age-inclusivity.

  • Connection: Enhancing communication and collaboration across all university groups and providing opportunities to collaborate for synergistic action and progress toward age-friendly university goals.

  • Inclusion: Understanding that the university community is strengthened by faculty, staff and students of all ages and committing to support all individuals.

  • Curriculum: Maintaining and expanding existing curricular content and creating new offerings focused on age-inclusivity, intergenerational connections and aging-related topics

  • Community: Nurturing existing partnerships and building new ones in the community.

Get Involved

The Gerontology Relevance Projects is an asynchronous module that offers both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to explore how gerontology relates to their professional and personal lives. Since most students learn little about aging in traditional settings, this fast-moving and fascinating module will undoubtedly impact students in diverse professions and fields of study and in their own lives. The module is appropriate for inclusion in any course or academic discipline.

For more information, email Donna Fedus.

The Legacy Project is a program designed to enable individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias to have their life stories written and preserved by trained student volunteers. In conducting several interviews and recording the rich lives of those living with dementia, student volunteers gain the valuable experience of interacting with older adults, which positively impacts their future thoughts and beliefs about dementia when encountering it professionally. The storytellers receive a written legacy book that can be shared with loved ones and cherished by future generations.

Participation in the Legacy Project is available through either the Center for Interprofessional Healthcare Education as a 6-week program or through the School of Health Sciences as a 1-credit course

For more information, email Norene Carlson.

A new community initiative for local senior community members who need a safe, warm place to exercise during the cold winter months, Bobcat Stride welcomes members of the public aged 50 years and older to walk around Quinnipiac's North Haven Campus. This program is free and runs from 6-8 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays beginning February 25, 2022.

For more information or to register for the program, email Karla Natale or call 203-582-5369.

Dementia Friends USA is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act and talk about dementia. During a Dementia Friends Session, students will learn about dementia, what it’s like to live with dementia and actions that can be taken to support people living with dementia.

A Dementia Friend is someone who, through attending a live session led by a Dementia Friends Champion, learns what it's like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action. These interactive sessions last one hour and can be incorporated into any course of study or held as an extracurricular event.

Dementia Friends Champions are volunteers who have been trained to offer live Dementia Friends sessions. Those who complete the Dementia Friends program can choose to become a Champion through extra training. Champion training is offered through a partnership with Livewell Dementia Specialists in Plantsville, Connecticut.

For more information, email Nicole Fidanza.

Ability Media was created within the School of Communications to address a pressing need across all forms of media – the lack of representation of people with different abilities in the content and in jobs. Ability Media began as a website and YouTube channel to meet the expressed needs and interests of the 54 million Americans with different abilities and those committed to them personally, professionally and commercially.

Learn more

Disrupt Aging Classroom is a two-hour interactive curriculum that challenges students to examine their aging perceptions and think about how the growing aging population is relevant to their personal lives and future careers. The curriculum is presented by AARP volunteer facilitators, complements any course of study and can be presented across disciplines at the university.

The curriculum covers five themes and includes interactive activities:

  • Describe demographic trends in aging.

  • Define and discuss examples of ageism.

  • Recognize older adults as multidimensional individuals.

  • Examine the personal stake in the aging trend.

  • Identify opportunities stemming from the aging trend.

Disrupt Aging Classroom is being implemented in courses within our occupational therapy, sociology, gerontology, and nursing programs, along with several other courses across the university.

For more information, email Nicole Fidanza

To learn more about the committee or to become a department or school champion, email Sheila Molony or Nicole Fidanza. All staff, faculty and administrators are welcome.

Areas of Study

Meet the Committee on Age Inclusivity

Nicole Fidanza (Chair)

Clinical Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy, BS/MOT Program Coordinator, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee

Areas of Expertise: Geriatrics; neurorehabilitation; acute, subacute and long-term care settings; social participation and frailty prevention in community-dwelling older adults

Faculty Profile

Karen Blood

Clinical Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy

Areas of Expertise: Geriatrics; medically complex patients


Faculty Profile

Anna Norene Carlson

Clinical Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy

Areas of Expertise: Adult development; service-learning; end of life care; fall prevention

Faculty Profile

Donna Fedus

Adjunct Professor of Sociology, Criminal Justice & Anthropology

Areas of Interest: Gerontology; dementia; family caregiving

Stephanie Jacobson

Associate Professor of Social Work and Associate Chair of the Department of Social Work

Areas of Expertise: Geriatrics; mental health counseling; older adult sexuality

Faculty Profile

Nicholas Nicholson

Professor of Nursing

Areas of Expertise: Psychosocial factors in older adults, including social isolation, social support, social network and loneliness

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Martha Sanders

Professor of Occupational Therapy

Areas of Expertise: Ergonomics for older adults, workplaces, community-based health promotion

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Ruth Schwartz

Associate Professor of Education, Director of Programs in Instructional Design

Areas of Expertise: Online learning; design of digital resources for learning

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Catherine Richards Solomon

Professor of Sociology

Areas of Expertise: Family sociology; gender, work and occupations; social gerontology

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Tracy Van Oss

Clinical Professor Occupational Therapy

Areas of Expertise: Home and community health; chronic disease health management


Faculty Profile