Meet Your Instructor: Dana Howell, professor, EKU Occupational Therapy

EKU Online > Meet Your Instructor: Dana Howell, professor, EKU Occupational Therapy

A long-time EKU instructor, Dana Howell believes in accessibility and taking an active part in her student’s educational experience. She goes above and beyond to ensure her online students have just as much opportunity to interact and build a relationship with her as their on-campus counterparts. Howell’s personal attention and dedication to helping students prepare to make their mark in the field makes her a particular point of pride on EKU’s campuses, both in-person and virtual. We take great pride in offering the chance to get to know her a little better.

What brought you to EKU?

A former professor recruited me to EKU. She heard I was finishing my PhD and thought I would be a good fit here. She was right!

Tell us a little about your work in your field.

My background is in adult rehabilitation. I worked primarily in hospital and rehabilitation settings, and I worked for several years as a traveling therapist. I transitioned to academia in 1999 and since then have taught in entry-level occupational therapy programs as well as doctoral programs.

What moment at EKU stands out as most memorable?

When I became a Foundation Professor. This was a high honor, and I am still humbled that I was selected.

What is your approach to online teaching?

I try not to treat it differently from teaching in person. At the end of the day, there are professionals trying to learn, whether they are sitting in front of me or in front of their own computer. So active teaching methods, engagement, empathy, consistency, and structure work just as well online as they do in person.

What tactics or approaches do you use to  aid in your student’s success?

I value an organized Blackboard site, and real-time office hours. I find these strategies help alleviate student stress and they can focus more on learning and less on logistical questions.

What do you believe are the biggest advantages to online learning?

Our students are typically interested in online learning because they can continue working as an occupational therapist. This is a great strength because they can immediately apply their new knowledge to their professional development.

What have you been up to lately? (Research, projects, awards, etc.)

I am the Department Chair, so I have many moving targets! We are currently working on accreditation as we are transitioning from the entry-level masters to the doctorate. I am also the editor of the Journal of Occupational Therapy Education which keeps me very busy.

What advice would you give to someone who’s considering finishing their degree, or starting for the first time as an adult?

Doing some online Blackboard modules to see what it is like; talking with students who are currently in the program; considering your professional goals and reasons for achieving the degree. Also, consider how much time the program will take. Many students are already so busy yet don’t reflect on what may need to take a back seat while in school.

Parting Thoughts?

Online learning is a great opportunity that makes education accessible to so many! Getting an OTD is a fantastic way to grow your career, emerge as a leader, and make lasting change in the profession.

Interested in a Doctorate in Occupational Therapy?

Earn your online OTD degree from a regionally accredited university that has been an online education leader for more than 15 years. EKU offers one of the top post-professional doctor of occupational therapy programs in the nation. Our challenging doctorate degree options prepare practitioners to take on leadership roles and our flexible, online format provides students the ability to complete coursework and assignments according to their schedule.

Complete the form to learn more about how EKU Online’s OTD Program can help advance your career. You can also contact us at 859-622-4455 or

Learn More