• Program Director, Occupational & Recreational Therapies
  • Adjunct Instructor, Physical Therapy & Athletic Training
  • Professor (Lecturer), Occupational & Recreational Therapies

Current Courses

Fall 2024

  • OC TH 300-001
    Intro To Occup Therap
  • OC TH 3000-001
    Intro to Occup Therapy
    Location: HPEB 322 (HPEB 322)
  • OC TH 6040-001
    Creative Occupations
    Location: HPEB 231 (HPEB 231), HPEB 228 (HPEB 228)
  • OC TH 6050-001
    The Body; Occupation
    Location: HPEB 231 (HPEB 231), HPEB 228 (HPEB 228)
  • OC TH 6050-003
    The Body; Occupation
    Location: HPEB 249 (HPEB 249), HPEB 249 (HPEB 249)
  • OC TH 6313-001
    OT Process - PsySoc III
    Location: HPEB 322 (HPEB 322)
  • OC TH 7310-002
    Case Based Learning 1
    Location: HPEB 228 (HPEB 228)

Summer 2024

Spring 2024

Professional Organizations

  • Team Based Learning Collaborative. 03/08/2018 - present. Position : Member.
  • Utah Occupational Therapy Association. 01/20/1992 - present. Position : Member.
  • American Occupational Therapy Association. 06/20/1988 - present. Position : Member.

Practice History

  • Life Skills Clinic- treatment of adult clients with high level cognitive impairments. Caseload of 4-6 clients from a variety of referral sources. 01/01/2014 - present .

Teaching Philosophy

When I graduated with my PhD, 25 years into my career, I was asked why I wasn’t pursuing a tenure-track position. My response was, “I’m not that person”. Although I enjoy the discovery and development of knowledge that research can offer I would much rather spend my days finding and producing new approaches to teach my courses. I enjoy creating new ways of thinking about and using information. Overall, I aim to engage my students in active learning that offers opportunities to apply and question. In conjunction with providing knowledge I want to build skills and foster self-efficacy in new clinicians entering the profession of occupational therapy. This is done through the use of scaffolding, relevant storytelling, inclusion, and transparency.  

As Vygotsky’s theory, Zones of Proximal Development, proposes students learn when there is a balance between challenge and support. Challenge brings about growth but if the demands are too high the students will just be frustrated, too low and they are bored. In addition, students need to feel safe to take risks but too much support can stifle the development of new skills. In my class this translates into scaffolding assignments and feedback as the student moves through the often-confusing process of developing clinical reasoning. I present the students with case studies that increase in complexity as their skills develop. When grading these assignments, I tailor my expectations to their level of performance and I offer the students detailed feedback and probing questions they can apply to future cases and clients. My role in education is similar to that of a crane operator. I need to analyze the relationship between the students’ skill level and the demands of the content. Once this is calculated I slowly, systematically add or remove the right amount of challenge or support from the scale looking for the fine balance that will allow the student to move forward in their growth as an occupational therapist.

The complex situations that are often present in practice as an OT are rarely addressed through the use of standardized procedures or protocols. Many questions that come up in class are met with a “well, that depends” response. As students gain experience, they come to realize that my aim is to teach them how to use their clinical reasoning to consider the complexities of client-centered care and all that comes with it. I am teaching them how to think, not what to think. I do not shy away from difficult topics and in fact think that the classroom is the perfect place to be presented with awkward situations, unexpected reactions and tough conversations. As students progress in their clinical reasoning, I present them with these realities of working in healthcare. Having a safe place to face their insecurities and try out their new skills fosters self-efficacy and provides the student with more feedback than a grade on a test.  

I come from a family of natural storytellers. This has always been an effective tool in my classroom; interweaving real clinical experiences into my lessons in an effort to make the information accessible, relevant, and motivating. These stories are meant to reflect clinical reasoning but also my passion for the profession and my respect for the people I have had the privilege of knowing, teaching and treating.

The events of recent years have highlighted areas my teaching could improve. I have identified goals for my development to focus on making my courses and assignments more transparent and inclusive. The last few years have increased my awareness to the life demands our students face while also navigating graduate school. To address these concerns, I have been increasing inclusive teaching practices into my courses. It is not enough to offer a rubric and description of an assignment. If I really want a student to invest time and effort into an assignment and benefit from doing it, I need to also explain why I am having them do it and how it relates to their future as OTs. I made changes so that now all of my assignments have an additional paragraph in the description that tells the students explicitly what I hope they gain from doing it, what skills it will help advance, and how it relates to their future practice. I have all of the course assignments, due dates, and expectations clearly defined and available from the first day of the course. I make as many assignments as possible available for the students to begin work on as time allows, increasing opportunities for flexible time management.

Another area of my teaching that has developed over time is my commitment to supporting equity, diversity and inclusion both in healthcare services and education. As an educator, I have come to realize that I play a key role in advocating for equality and justice for all. I have worked on this by reflecting on my own biases and experiences, acknowledging how they influence how I teach and by inviting open communication and thought-provoking discussions to understand the lived experiences of others. Although my work in this area is not complete, I hope I broaden my students’ perspectives by encouraging these practices during class and by increasing diverse representation in assignments.

 “Whatever you are, be a good one.”- Abraham Lincoln. I not only strive to do this but also enjoy my role in making this possible for others. Although students often look to their instructors to be role models, I do not aim to make mini versions of me or expect my students to practice OT as I have. Instead I hope that my courses offer them the knowledge and skills they need and that they use these in conjunction with their own strengths and talents to be great OTs, who love their jobs.

I am dedicated to the education of my future colleagues. 

Courses I Teach

  • OCTH 5030 - The Body as a Component of Occupation
    Anatomy and kinesiology aspects of occupations. This course is co-taught and my main contribution is the two lab portions.
  • OCTH 5060 - Conditions that Impact Occupations
    A course that covers the medical conditions often seen by occupational therapists and how these conditions impact participation.
  • OCTH 6040 - Creative Occupations and Analysis
    A course that teaches task analysis and the process of grading occupations
  • OCTH 6260 - Occupations & Practice- Evaluations II
    This course teaches how to administer standardized and non-standardized assessments, develop observation skills, and formulate treatment goals in the process of assessing adult clients for occupational therapy services.
  • OCTH 6530 - Cognition & Occupation
    This course covers the main aspects of cognition, how deficits in cognition impact participation, and how to treat clients will cognitive deficits across the lifespan.
  • OCTH 7132 - Academic and Clinical Teaching in OT
    This course teaches practicing occupational therapists how to incorporate teaching concepts and theories into their clinical and/or academic work.

Teaching Projects

  • Developing Study Skills for Success in Graduate School. Project Lead: Beth Cardell. Collaborators: Jessica Bodily, Trevor Thompson. None 10/16/2019 - present. Total Budget: $0.00.
  • Developing clinical skills on the acute medical floor. Project Lead: Beth Cardell. Collaborators: Neil Scott. University Teaching Grant 01/26/2015 - 01/30/2017. Total Budget: $614.00.
  • Increasing Clinical Reasoning Through the use of Technology. Project Lead: Beth Cardell. Collaborators: Eliza Young. Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program 01/2014 - 04/2014.
  • Developing Clinical Reasoning and Observation Skills. Project Lead: Beth Cardell. University Teaching Committee Grant 10/30/2013 - 12/30/2014. Total Budget: $840.00.
  • Undergraduate Student Experts on Teaching: Using Avatars for Clinical Skills Education. Project Lead: Beth Cardell. Collaborators: Eliza Young. Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence 08/2013 - 05/2013.

OC TH 5090-002, -003, -004

Spring 2013- Neuroanatmoy Lab Insturctor, six hours per week.