Chalee Engelhard, PT, EdD, MBA, GCS

Physical Therapy, Class of 1990


What is your current title?

Director of Clinical Education for the Doctor of Physical Therapy program and Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for the University of Cincinnati College of Allied Health Sciences.

What are your primary responsibilities?

As Director of Clinical Education, I am responsible for all aspects of clinical education for the UC Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The most rewarding part of this is working with the students, in order to prepare them for and support them while they are in clinic. I have the pleasure of working with a great Assistant DCE who helps me in these activities. I also teach a part of the Professional Roles series to our students. As the Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, I do a great deal of project management and working with faculty and students. In this position, I have had the opportunity to help with many exciting endeavors including developing interprofessional education in the UC academic health center (AHC), international service/learning for the college, and work on attaining grants that will further the mission of the college and AHC.

Why did you choose the UK College of Health Sciences for your studies?

I chose the UK College of Health Sciences for my studies for several reasons. UK is a tradition in my family. If you go to college, UK is the place to be. I knew that I wanted to stay in Kentucky to be close to my family, and the UK CHS PT program had an amazing reputation with faculty who were giants in their field. When I went to CHS for my interview, it just felt like home. I was meant to be there. Luckily, the faculty that interviewed me agreed.

Do you have any concerns about your current field? What are they?

I am concerned about physical therapy clinical education. There has been a tremendous focus on clinical education in the past couple of  years, and I am excited about where this focus will take us. The Clinical Education Summit held last year at the Educational Leadership Conference was a great start to examining the current clinical education models used in the U.S. There is a long road ahead of us in making decisions on how clinical education will be delivered in the future. I would like to see our profession make informed decisions, yet have the open-mindedness to explore new ways to get to the goal of developing entry-level PTs. Additionally, the current healthcare environment continues to challenge health care profession educators. Embracing the challenge of preparing our students for this ever-evolving landscape is a daily part of our work.

What do you hope to accomplish in your new position?

Change is the one thing you can count on in higher education. UC is no exception. If you’re not evolving with the times, you stand the chance of becoming stagnant. We have an amazing, new Dean and have a new building being built for the college. Thus, with the change happening on the UC campus, I desire to support our faculty, staff and students as we go through these changes. With respect to our DPT program, I hope to provide the best support possible to our students and to be a positive change agent for clinical education.  

Do you have any advice for students interested in the PT field?

My advice for students interested in the PT field is to know that you have the opportunity to work with people in their most vulnerable states. It's an honor and a privilege to be invited into their lives to aid in their recovery. Don’t take this for granted and continually seek to be the lifelong learner that works as a team member to ensure the best outcomes achievable for your future patients.