Dr. Sheryl Holt

Teaching Area(s): Doctor of Physical Therapy


Finding My Passion
I think physical therapy chose me. Certainly, I have tried to escape a few times into art, journalism and medical school, but in the beginning, middle and end, it was the one vocation whose invitation was most persistent. It also remained most germane to my life pursuits, aptitudes and world views. With post graduate studies and clinical applications of neurological and pediatric content, I was hooked both clinically and academically. I transitioned to academics quite late in my career, after 27 years of clinical practice, in a rather serendipitous fashion.

Favorite Part of My Job
That’s hard to say, because quite honestly, I try to be in the moment. I love my department already. I am thrilled to be here. I have been impressed with everyone I have met in Human Resources, Dean Patricia Draves, the people with whom I interviewed last year when I accepted the position and our new president and his wife, Dr. Merriman and Dr. Kelman. The interactions are energizing and affirming to me and never cease to amaze me. Typically, I have loved all three facet aspects of academic life; the research, the teaching and the service. Each of those areas invite different aspects of my person and I value that. I love students. I love being there for them and with them. I love learning more than I could possibly teach. Maybe the best way to answer this is to say, my favorite part is being part.

Proudest Professional Accomplishments
I would have to say that it is getting where I am today. It is entrusting myself to life and its learning process and investing in it. It is allowing for the sacred moments in any given work day, moments both earned and graced, in which that learning can transform me, or through me, my peers and students. My accomplishments are almost never solely my own thus, I am most proud of the circle that is becoming my circle of influence. It is through this circle that I am able to take pride in myself and my efforts every day, whether I am successful or learning from my mistakes.

Teaching Style
My teaching philosophy in limerick form:

My philosophy of teaching was birthed
Seeking tenets of merit and worth
Adding threads of my soul
To ideals I extol
Along with lessons of sorrow and mirth

In the stretch between here and a star
Between my students and me wherever we are
Is their youth and its glories
Their potentials, their stories
And their hopes they have to go far

As I teach, I affirm their dreams
Trying to bear with their infinite schemes
As a down to earth sort
That is slow to retort
I accept nothing is just what it seems

I’m aware that before I can teach,
I must learn to effectively reach
The world students know
Their highs and their lows
By practicing all that I preach

As a teacher, I still seek and find
With an open inquisitive mind
Transformed by fresh query
Stretched, sometimes weary,
Knowing success of my students is how I’m defined

And thus, my teaching philosophy
Extends a good bit beyond me
Yet bends backward to serve
The heart, soul, and nerve
Of every aspiring student PT

Mount Union Education
I have a history with Mount Union graduates. I was taught in Sebring, Ohio, by teachers who were Mount Union graduates. Some of my best Doctor of Physical Therapy students did their undergraduate work at Mount Union. From the people who I have encountered and interacted with, Mount Union has left an impression of pride.

Liberal Arts Education
I believe it creates lifelong learners who are aware of the diversity in the world around them.

Physical Therapy Major
I would encourage any prospective student interested in becoming a physical therapist to apply to Mount Union’s program because Mount Union fully supports the program and it is going to be exceptional. It has faculty who are invested in providing world class instruction and learning opportunities that are a cut above ordinary. I would encourage students to be part of this program for the same reason I came here, to be part of something extraordinary!

Research Interests
My research agendas that have been most interesting to me to date are qualitative inquiries in children with disabilities and their movement consciousness; parents of children with disabilities and their perceptions of their child; retrospective framing of disability experiences and practice perceptions of health care professionals, recently school-based physical therapists.

I would encourage students to be part of this program for the same reason I came here, to be part of something extraordinary!

Fun Facts

If you could teach one class outside of your discipline, what would it be?
Probably a course on how not to do things. That is one thing I am quite good at.
What is the most surprising thing you've learned from a student?
That I have the potential to teach.
What is your favorite quote or motto?
“Forgiveness breaks the chain of causality because he who forgives you -- out of love--takes upon himself the consequences of what you have done. Forgiveness, therefore, always entails a sacrifice.”
What is one thing most people would be surprised to find out about you?
That a part of my inner life is very Japanese. I lived there as a student and the culture and its people embraced me and helped me understand a part of myself I had not met. It is a part that I treasure.
If you weren’t a professor, what job would you have?
I would likely be a clinical physical therapist in a pediatric setting, but I once envisioned being a folk singer and an artist.
What is one thing you want to do or a place you’d like to visit?
I would love to take my children to Japan.
What is your favorite movie?
"The Mission."
What is your favorite book?
“Markings” by Dag Hammarskjold.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I love animals, dogs especially. Anything my kids are doing in sports whether baseball, basketball, soccer or volleyball. Also, reading, poetry, writing, badminton, travel, music, theater, nature, cycling, faith, spirituality and friendships are high priorities.
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