Robin L. Dole

Robin L. Dole, PT, DPT, EdD, PCS

  • Dean of College of Health & Human Services

Affiliated Programs


  • EdD, Child and Youth Studies, Exceptional Education and Special Services (2000)
    Nova Southeastern University (FL)
  • MS, Physical Therapy, post-professional fellowship in pediatrics (1995)
    University of Indianapolis (IN)
  • DPT, Physical Therapy, post-professional (2009)
    MGH Institute for Health Professions (MA)
  • BS, Physical Therapy (1988)
    Ithaca College (NY)

About Me

I received my entry-level BS in physical therapy from Ithaca College and completed a pediatric fellowship on my way to pediatric specialization in physical therapy from the University of Indianapolis. My academic doctoral work is in child and youth studies from Nova Southeastern University, with a focus in exceptional education and special services. I also completed a post-professional doctorate in physical therapy through MGH Institute of Health Professions. These academic pursuits have contributed to my work as a pediatric physical therapist working in early intervention and school-based settings and have informed my research and teaching.

As a scholar, a professor, and a clinician, it is my philosophy that learning occurs within a rich environmental context, and that what we practice well and what we reflect on is learned and shaped in ways that result in permanent changes in our understanding and behavior. On my office door you will find this quote by Abigail Adams: "Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence." I believe this for my own professional development as well as for the education and preparation of future physical therapists.

Research Interests

My scholarly interests are closely tied to my work and experiences as a pediatric physical therapist and an academician. Those pursuits have led to collaborations with others who are teaching pediatric content in physical therapy programs where we have explored questions related to critical thinking, curriculum, and knowledge translation. My other primary research collaboration is within the Institute for Physical Therapy Education at Widener, where we are studying a variety of elements related to civic engagement, service learning, and leadership connected to our curriculum and our student-led pro bono physical therapy clinic.

Media Expertise

  • Pediatrics
  • Child motor development
  • Developmental disorder
  • Autism/developmental coordination disorder
  • Special education and related services
  • Gait dysfunction
  • Hippotherapy
  • Assistive technology


  • Timmerberg JF, Chesbro S, Jensen G, Dole RL, Jette D. Competency-based education and practice in physical therapy: It’s time to act! Physical Therapy. 2022; Epub head of print.
  • Weaver P, Catalino T, Townsend E, Martin K, Dole RL. Assimilation of the Pediatric Essential Core Competencies by Professional Physical Therapist Education Programs, Pediatric Physical Therapy. 2020; 32(3): 267-274.
  • Crandell CE, Black JD, Dole RL, Palombaro KM. The prevalence and characteristics of physical therapy pro bono services involving doctor of physical therapy students. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2020; 17;18(2), Article 13.
  • Kenyon L, Dole, RL, et al. Contemporary practice as a board-certified pediatric clinical specialist: A practice analysis. Pediatric Physical Therapy. (in press).
  • Crandell, CE, Black, JD, Dole RL, Palombaro, KM. The prevalence and characteristics of physical therapy pro bono services involving doctor of physical therapy students. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2020; 17; 18(2), Article 13.
  • Moerchen VA, Lundeen H, Dole RL. Educational research priorities for pediatric physical therapy: A consensus study. Pediatric Physical Therapy. 2020; 32:60-69. doi:10.1097/PEP.0000000000000666

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA); Pennsylvania Chapter


  • Chief Delegate, Pennsylvania; American Physical Therapy Association House of Delegates
  • Chair, Pediatric Specialty Council, American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties
  • Service Award; Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, 2011


In the Media


  • Robin Dole Wins National Award from the APTA Academy of Education

    Robin Dole, dean of the College of Health & Human Services and professor of physical therapy, was presented with the 2022 Stanford Award by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Academy of Education. The award was created by Katherine Shepard, PT, PhD, FAPTA, in honor of her former faculty colleagues at Stanford University, to recognize the author(s) of a manuscript containing the most influential educational ideas published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education for the calendar year. Dean Dole, who also serves as the chief delegate for APTA PA, is recognized for her contributions as an author on the paper "Competency-Based Education in Physical Therapy: Developing a Framework for Education." 

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  • Robin Dole, dean of the College of Health & Human Services, is a co-author on this paper published in Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal discussing competency-based education (CBE). In this perspective article, Dole and the co-authors demonstrate support for utilizing the CBE philosophy and highlight four themes: the need for a shared language, an overview of CBE and the impetus for the change, how to shift toward CBE in physical therapy, and why the profession should adopt a mindset requiring purposeful practice across one’s career in order to safely and most efficiently practice in a given area.

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