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Portrait of Jennifer Mai

Jennifer Mai, PT, DPT, Ph.D., MHS, NCS

Professor of Physical Therapy,
Chair of Physical Therapy Dept.
(563) 588-8168
Catherine Byrne Hall 117A
MS 1712 (to send on-campus mail)

Educational Background

Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy; Bradley University; Peoria, IL; 2000

Master of Health Science in Physical Therapy (Emphasis in Neuromuscular Rehabilitation); University of Indianapolis; Indianapolis, IN; 2003

Doctor of Physical Therapy; Clarke College; Dubuque, IA; 2006

Doctor of Philosophy; Nova Southeastern University; Fort Lauderdale, FL; 2011

Teaching Philosophy

My goal is that graduating DPT students will be well rounded in the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Physical therapists need to be able to critically think and problem solve quickly. As such, I expect graduates use these skills to be able to accurately examine patients, complete differential diagnoses, develop problem lists, as well as create and implement plans of care that are appropriate, yet challenging, functional and interesting to the patients they serve. In order to achieve these goals, I believe that students must practice using their skills in class as well as in the clinic.  By having lab-based courses, the students are able to interact with one another and learn in a “hands-on” manner to reinforce ideas presented in lecture. I expect that students are able to integrate information from across the curriculum into each course because this is the expectation in the clinic. I am able to relate new concepts in one course to concepts previously learned in other courses. In the classroom, I aim to have students take an active role in the learning process, to foster an eagerness for learning, and to create a successful learning environment.

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing. - Theodore Roosevelt

Jennifer Mai


Professional Background

Jennifer has been teaching at Clarke since 2004. She teaches the Adult Neuromuscular sequence, Cardiopulmonary PT, and Research courses. She also works at UnityPoint Health-Finley Hospital in the inpatient and acute rehabilitation areas to maintain her board certification. She is a neurological certified specialist and writes items for the NCS board examination. Jennifer is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association, the Iowa Physical Therapy Association and a member of the Neurology, Geriatrics, Education and Acute Care Sections of the APTA. She has published several articles, presented research at the state and national level, and reviewed textbooks.

Research Interests

  • Educational Methods in Physical Therapy
  • Integrated Clinical Experiences
  • Technology Use in Physical Therapy Education
  • High Fidelity Simulation
  • Balance in Older Adults

Courses Taught

  • Neuromuscular PT I-III
  • Cardiopulmonary PT
  • Biostatistics and Research Methods
  • Doctoral Project

Certifications and Memberships

  • Board Certified in Neurological Physical Therapy (NCS)
  • America Physical Therapy Association
    • Member of Neurological, Acute Care, Geriatric, and Education Sections
    • Education Section Programming Committee Member for Combined Sections Meeting (2013 – Present), Abstract Reviewer
    • Education Section Academic Faculty Special Interest Group Professional Development Representative (Nationally Elected Position 2013-2015
    • Education Section Academic Faculty Special Interest Group Chair (2015-Present)
    • Education Section Grant Reviewer (2015)
    • Education Section Delegate for House of Delegates (2015), Alternate Delegate (2016)
    • Education Section Representative for Educational Leadership Partnership (2016-2019)
    • Educational Leadership Conference Planning Committee (2015-Present)
    • Educational Leadership Conference Abstract Reviewer (2016)
  • Publications

    Hampton S, Kaiser B, Morland S, Pitz M, Mai J. Can You Save Yourself Time in the Clinic? A Correlational Study of the Modified Falls Efficacy Scale and the Berg Balance Scale in Community. Journal of Student Physical Therapy Research. 2015;8:78-84.

    Mai JA, Stern D, Hollman J, Melzer B, Thiele A, Rosenthal R. Cool as ICE: Examining the Impact of an Integrated Clinical Experience on Interpersonal Skills Prior to the First, Full-Time Clinical Internship. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 2014;28(3): 81- 97.

    Thiele A, Mai JA, Post S.  The Student Centered Classroom of the 21st Century: Integrating Web 2.0 and Other Technology to Actively Engage Students. Journal of Physical Therapy Education. 2014; 28 (1) 80-93.

    Mai JA, Thiele A, O’Dell B, Kruse B, Vaassen M, Priest A.  Utilization of an Integrated Clinical Experience in a Physical Therapist Education Program. Journal of Physical Therapy Education.  2013; 27 (2) 25-32.

    Contributor to: Leonard P.  Quick and Easy Medical Terminology, 7th edition.  Elsevier.  2013.


  • Presentations

    Abstract Accepted for Educational Session at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting 2017. San Antonio, TX. February 15-18, 2017

    Mai J, Thiele A, Blackinton M, Miller T. Teaching Tips I Can Use On Monday: A Primer on Easy to Integrate Technology.

    Poster Presentation at Academy of Geriatrics’ Exercise and Physical Activity in Aging Conference. (ExPAAC II). Indianapolis, IN. July 28-30, 2016. Vaassen M, Mai J, O’Dell B, Matson J. The Correlation of the Modified Falls Efficacy Scale and the Mini-BESTest in Older Adults

    Poster Presentation at the American Physical Therapy Association’s NEXT Conference and Exposition.  Nashville, TN. June 8-11, 2016. Gallagher S, Jennings N, Ludwig A, Mai J. What’s your best estimate? A comparison of accuracy of visual estimation of joint angle between DPT students and experienced physical therapists. Abstract: Phys Ther (online supplement) Available at:

    Educational Session at Interprofessional Simulation Conference at Widener University.  Chester, PA (July 14-16, 2015). Mai J, Pilcher R, Kuhle M. Fostering Critical Care and Communication Skills Through an Interprofessional Approach to High Fidelity Stimulation