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Darcy Umphred, PhD, PT, FAPTA

Professor Emerita
Department of Physical Therapy

Research Interests

  • Motor learning, especially movement analysis throughout life
  • What characteristics make up a master clinician

Darcy Umphred, PhD, PT, FAPTA received her bachelor of science in physical therapy at University of Washington, her master of science at Boston University and her doctor of philosophy at Syracuse University. She joined Pacific in 1987 and has been retired since 2004.

Dr. Umphred's favorite thing about teaching at Pacific was the focus on the students as human beings with unique characteristics that will help all other students in the class grow. She enjoyed the classes being small enough that those unique differences could be nurtured while still meeting accreditation criteria. "The faculty have an opportunity to know each student and hopefully, impact their lives as budding professionals and soon to be colleagues."

When asked her teaching philosophy, Dr. Umphred answered, "My primary teaching philosophy is that my role as a teacher is not to teach what I think but to help students identify, analyze and synthesize what they think and justify their analysis using critical thinking. I love students to be creative and think outside the box because they help me to learn and stretch. As I've always taught basic neuroscience, movement analysis across the life span and an integrated approach to examining and treating individuals with movement problems resulting from central nervous system dysfunction, I tell students that they can never use me (or "I said so") as a rationale for why they select an examination or treatment regimen. They need to justify what they do by using all the tools available to them such as their neuroscience background, the ability to analyze movement both normal and abnormal and their ability to interact and appreciate those individuals to whom they provide treatment. I've never asked students to just memorize material. Usually, I teach students in the latter part of their education because once they begin to think independently, they no long want to give back to a faculty member exactly what they were told."

Dr. Umphred was born in Oakland, California. She loves life and she loves to learn and grow. She enjoys writing poetry, mentoring younger colleagues, playing with her grandchildren and being an integral part of her and her husband's adult children's lives. She takes pleasure in hiking in the mountains with her husband. She also likes to cook, knit and read.