Monday, March 11, 2013

Meet Program in Physical Therapy Director of Clinical Education, Carol Beckel

Carol Beckel is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Clinical Education for Saint Louis University's Program in Physical Therapy. We interviewed her to find out a little bit about where she is from, how she originally became interested in physical therapy, and what sets Saint Louis University's Program in Physical Therapy Clinical Education apart in her point of view.


Where were you born and raised?
I am a native St. Louisan, growing up in Bridgeton. I am the youngest of 4 with 11 years between myself and my sister so I had lots of people to learn from but also had a lot of time on my own when everyone else was in school. I started swim lessons when I was 2 and recreated my lessons with my dolls when I got home. Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy swam many laps on the couch.


When did you first become interested in Physical Therapy and why?
My 8th grade home room teacher told us if we didn’t figure out what we wanted to be when we grew up we wouldn’t take the right classes in high school and then we wouldn’t get into the degree we wanted in college. I immediately went to the Career Resources section of our school library and read about PT. I learned I wouldn’t have to work evenings or many weekends, I could wear tennis shoes, and I could help people. I never looked back!

Where did you receive your undergraduate degree?
I graduated from SLU with my B.S. in PT in 1992, my M.A. in Higher Education in 2004, and my PhD. in Educational Studies in 2012.

What made the largest impact on you, concerning Physical Therapy?
I had the greatest clinical instructors when I was in school. Each had different strengths and helped me find develop a passion for physical therapy. I decided that when I had a chance to work with students, I would do everything I could to help them find their passion for PT as well.

Professional Association

Are you a member of the APTA?
I am a member of the APTA and the MPTA. I am active at in the Eastern District of the MPTA as the Membership Chair.


My primary area of research is in the area of accommodations during clinical experiences for physical therapists and physical therapist assistant students with disabilities.


Clinical Practice

What is your current background in regards to clinical practice?
I worked for 10 years as a full time PT primarily in acute, rehabilitation, skilled nursing and home health with geriatrics patients. I also provides some pediatric PT through a local school. Currently I provide pro bono services at Hillside Health Care International in Punta Gorda, Belize. 

What sets Saint Louis University's Program in Physical Therapy Clinical Education apart?

SLU students learn what it means to be a PT for 3 1/2 years before they ever step into the clinic. They are primed and ready to jump into patient care. I frequently hear our students are anxious to try anything and they easily demonstrate a level of compassion and empathy that comes from the heart. 

How many clinics are we affiliated with?

SLU has over 300 individual affiliation agreements. In some cases the agreement is for one individual clinic or multiple clinics in the same company. 

Area of Teaching

My primary role on faculty is as the Director of Clinical Education (DCE). I am coordinating the new Documentation course this spring and provide spot lectures in several other courses.


I am a member of the Board of Directors for Hillside Health Care International which supports the clinic I practice at in Belize. I am a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Patrick Center, a local organization that serves individuals who are currently homeless or in a situation that might lead to homelessness. 

Favorite Quote

“Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving.”
Mother Teresa

In Another Life

If you were not a physical therapist what would you be?
When I was working toward my PT degree, my classmates and I would discuss what we would do if we didn’t make it through the program (usually the night prior to a test which is NOT a good way to use your time). Mine was easy - I would hit the road as a stand-up comedian.


Carol’s cats, Molly and KC (short for Kitty Cat)

Fun Facts

What is your favorite Saint Louis restaurant?
Pueblo Solis

Where is your favorite place to travel?
Belize - I have many friends there that I miss when I am away

Who is your favorite band/singer?
Melissa Etheridge - still rockin’ in her 50’s!

What is your favorite movie?
Crimes of the Heart - I watch it around my birthday every year!

Who is your favorite sports team?
St. Louis Cardinals

Who is on your I-pod?
Lots of folks but some of my most frequent plays are Melissa Etheridge, Bruce Cockburn, Regina Spektor, and Mumford & Sons.

Favorite type of animal?
Awwww, kitties!

If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
Anywhere in Europe

What has made you feel alive/piqued your interest lately?
Every time I hear from a student in the clinic about some challenge they faced and succeeded in I get excited.

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