Faculty Spotlight: Professor Dana Howell, PhD, OTD, OTR/L


How long have you been at EKU?

I have been at EKU for 9 years in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. I mainly teach students in the Master of Occupational Therapy program, the online post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program, and the Rehabilitation Sciences (RHB) Doctoral program. The RHB program is a collaborative program between Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky, and is offered to post-professional occupational therapists, physical therapists, athletic trainers, and speech-language pathologists. I am the EKU liaison for the program. As of July 2015, I am the new coordinator of the EKU Online OTD program. This will be a great new challenge for me!

Why did you choose this field?

I chose to become an occupational therapist for two reasons. My mother is a nurse, so I knew I wanted to go into a health-related career. During high school, an occupational therapist came to my school to tell us about her job, and I was hooked as soon as she described using crafts and other meaningful activities to help people to recover from injuries and illnesses.

What are your areas of expertise?

As an occupational therapist, my expertise is with adults with neurologic and orthopedic physical disabilities. I have worked clinically in a variety of settings (inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, skilled nursing facilities, home health, work rehabilitation, to name some) and in different parts of the country when I worked for a traveling company. I also have expertise in interprofessional education and practice, and qualitative research.

What do you like most about teaching?

I love working with students who want to learn. I find that motivated students ask great questions and try so hard at everything I ask them to do. I like the challenge of finding ways to engage students at the right level. I teach students from undergraduate to post-professional doctorate, so I believe one of my strengths is being able to find the right amount of challenge and support for students at any time in their education.

How do you engage your online students?

I teach online, on campus, and a hybrid class as well. Engaging students online might be my biggest challenge, but then again it might not be- one of the things that I find difficult about online teaching is not being sure how my teaching is being received by the students in the moment. In the classroom, I can look around and gauge the students’ responses, but that can be harder online. I check in more frequently and ask for their feedback to make sure my teaching is on the right mark.

Published on July 13, 2015