Academics, Campus wide, College of Health Sciences, Faculty

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Katherine Smith

By Isabel Kay | December 3, 2021

Katherine Smith, PT, DPT, PCS is an assistant professor of physical therapy at Charleston Southern University. She earned her Master of Physical Therapy in 2002 from American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, and her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2017 from the University of St. Augustine for Health Science. Smith is currently working toward a PhD in business from Anderson University. With over 18 years of clinical experience as a physical therapist, Smith specializes in pediatric physical therapy. 

Dr. Katherine Smith at a basketball game with her husband (also a faculty member at CSU) and their two sons. Smith is an assistant professor of physical therapy at Charleston Southern University. Photo provided
  1. How did you end up in this career?

“I started out studying dietetics. I love the field of dietetics and nutrition. I couldn’t decide between dietetics or PT, and I did observations and internships to get involved and really decided that PT was the right path for me. So then I switched over to PT.”

  1. What does your job entail?

“I teach as well as have a role in clinical education. I am the associate director in clinical education and I am going to be an educator, as well. In the educational role, I am preparing the curriculum. I’m meeting our accreditation body standards. In order for the students to be eligible to take the licensure exam, we have to be ACAPP accredited. So, we are working through the process. I am documenting everything we will teach the students, how we will teach it, and how we will assess their learning. I’m doing a lot of curriculum development with that. I am also helping out with clinical education, so helping to establish clinical sites and clinical partners for the university.” 

  1. What made you interested in pediatric PT?

“It’s just more fun than adults. I worked as a substitute teacher. I’ve worked in regular education and special education. I worked alongside some of the therapists in the school setting. And just learning about their jobs and how they serve the students, they really impacted kids’ lives. I experienced that, and I felt called to try to have that positive impact on the kids.” 

  1. What is your greatest strength and how has it helped you?

“Perseverance from faith. You never know what the world is going to throw at you. I know God has a plan. I feel very much called to be doing what I’m doing however there is always going to be some kind of hurdle to jump over. It’s just having the knowledge to know I’m on the right path and I’m doing what God has called me to do. Where it’s His will, there is a way.”

  1. The most rewarding aspect of your job?

“Across the board, whether it’s teaching my students in a college setting, or as a physical therapist, it is helping people achieve their goals.” 

  1. How would you describe the faculty at CSU?

“My team within the DPT program…we are together all the time and we are close-knit. It’s fun because we have a very similar passion and are very supportive of one another. It’s a fun place to come to work.”

  1. What are your plans for the future; how do you inspire others?

“Inspiration has a lot to do with motivation. Motivation is intrinsic to the individual. But that environment you create supports that in individuals. So just maintaining support and positivity about someone’s goals.”

Isabel Kay is a freshman English education and communication major at Charleston Southern University and is an intern in the Office of Marketing & Communication.

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