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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Kathy Carroll

Practicing healthy habits is essential in this modern age of pandemics, sedentary lifestyles, and worsening health outcomes. For Dr. Kathy Carroll that means a greater call to properly educate the next generation of exercise professionals. As assistant professor and program director for ACU Online’s Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science degree, Dr. Carroll is setting a foundation for students to explore their interests in human performance, fitness and nutrition so they can help others make informed decisions about their lifestyles.

Discovering Her Passion

From a young age, Kathy loved music and thought she was destined to be a band director, but after being in the hospital during a stint with pneumonia her freshman year of college, she became fascinated with how the human body responds to pharmaceuticals to improve and function. That’s when she decided to major in pre-pharmacy and pursue a career in science at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. 

After earning her bachelor’s degree, Dr. Carroll worked in a pharmacy for over five years while earning a master’s degree in kinesiology and exercise physiology from Texas Woman’s University. From there, she went on to get her doctorate from the University of Toledo in health and human performance/exercise physiology, leading to a career change that would spark a new educational joy. 

Dr. Carroll made the jump from being a student to a professor at Ohio Valley University in West Virginia and later served as department chair for the exercise and sport science program at Drury University in Missouri for 12 of the 18 years she worked there. 

Evolving Students to Serve

In 2020, after a short time in retirement, Kathy decided to return to her love of teaching and joined ACU Online’s faculty as the program director for the Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science. She quickly caught on to the online format and has been amazed at how her students balance having careers, families and various obligations all on top of furthering their education.

“I’m very moved by their desire to further their education on top of living their busy lives,” she said. “I love the intentionality and devotion these post-traditional students have to pursue this entirely online and it inspires me as an educator.” 

As a program director, Kathy’s goal is to mold her students into knowledgeable experts who can improve not only their own health and lifestyle, but others as well. These types of well-educated and sophisticatedly trained students eager to help others are desperately needed in the field of health and exercise sciences.

“I love seeing a light come on in a student’s head when they understand a concept,” Kathy recalled. “We discuss how these topics affect their physical bodies and how to later teach others how to benefit from the same practices.” 

Beyond The Classroom

There are many takeaways that come with learning to care for our bodies. Perhaps the most impactful is how our bodies’ health relates to a Christian lifestyle. Dr. Carroll believes there is a direct tie to Kinesiology and Christianity and that the only possible answer to the complexity and strength of our bodies is that our bodies are the work of a Creator. ACU Online allows Kathy to make biblical parallels throughout her courses and encourages students to find ways to use those connections in their workplaces.

Kathy currently teaches remotely from Springfield, Missouri, where she lives with her kitten who she calls her “best friend.” While she found a new passion in the field of science, she still gets to live out her musical dreams by playing drums at her church where she’s heavily involved and is constantly finding ways to serve her community. Outside of the classroom, Dr. Carroll is dedicated to her personal health journey and loves to workout, run and lift weights to improve her well-being and further her expertise just like she urges her students to do. 

Curious how you can make an impact by educating others like Dr. Carroll? Visit or contact us at 855-219-7300 to learn more about starting a career in health, wellness, sports and beyond. 

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