Elizabeth Vozzola, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita Joined USJ:
Academic Degrees M.S., Winona State University 
M.A., Fordham University
Ph.D., Fordham University
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The Power of Moral Development
Elly Vozzola feels at home at an institution that is committed to high ethical standards. The focus of her scholarship has been the psychology of moral development. While studying for her doctorate at Fordham University, she had the opportunity to work with a mentor who was the major collaborator of Lawrence Kohlberg – considered to be the father of moral development. Vozzola commented, “When you think about it, moral development runs through every major liberal arts discipline with their focus on all the nuanced complexities of deciding right from wrong … If I were to describe myself, I’d always say first that I am a teacher. Teacher, mother, reader, psychologist. USJ is a teaching-intensive university; students enjoy discussing real life ‘ripped from the headlines’ issues such as France making it illegal to wear a hijab in public. As a values-centered institution, USJ encourages students to carefully consider and articulate their assumptions on morality.”

A Passion for Mercy Values and Social Justice

USJ’s support of women and ethical values has always been of great significance to Vozzola: “I am not Catholic myself, but I love the Sisters of Mercy commitment to social justice – they truly walk the walk! Faculty are encouraged to integrate Mercy values and we take it seriously. Within the Psychology department, everyone is passionate about helping students grow, reflect, and reach a high bar of expectations.”

Inspired by Strength, Intellect and Dedication

If she could sit down and talk with anyone on today’s national scene, Vozzola would choose Hillary Rodham Clinton: “I think she is exactly the kind of woman we teach about who had to write a new narrative in a culture that really didn’t have a place for her. She’s strong, smart, and has made a difference.”

From Vozzola’s perspective, “I think people do have a moral obligation to make a difference in the world – that’s the core of it. I encourage people to feel that sense of empowerment.”