National Organization Presents Koch Researcher of Year Award

May 10, 2017

Lynn Koch shows her plaque for recognition as Rehabilitation Researcher of the Year.
Lynn Koch shows her plaque for recognition as Rehabilitation Researcher of the Year.

Lynn Koch, University of Arkansas professor of rehabilitation education and research, has been named top researcher in her field by a national organization.

Koch received the Rehabilitation Researcher of the Year award in April at the spring conference of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education. She has written two books and almost 80 refereed journal articles based on her research in rehabilitation counseling. The most recent book was Rehabilitation Counseling and Emerging Disabilities, a textbook published last November by Springer and written with co-author Phillip Rumrill, a U of A graduate and professor at Kent State University.

She also co-edited, with U of A assistant professor Stephanie Lusk, a special issue on psychiatric disabilities for the journal of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education. It is the fourth such special issue of various journals she has guest-edited.

Koch's primary research area is psychiatric disorders, and she received a $750,000 grant in 2014 with U of A assistant professor Kristin Higgins to support master's students studying to become psychiatric rehabilitation specialists. She has held administrative roles on six federally funded grants whose total budgets exceed $3 million.

Koch joined the faculty of the U of A rehabilitation counseling program in 2006. The program, which has three faculty members, has been ranked in the top 20 of graduate rehabilitation programs nationally by U.S. News & World Report for more than a decade. In 2013, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin named the program No. 8 in the country for scholarly productivity.

Kate Mamiseishvili, head of the Department of Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders, has collaborated with Koch and wrote a letter in support of her nomination for the award.

"From my very first interaction with Dr. Koch, I recognized her true passion for research and discovery," Mamiseishvili said. "That passion was what sparked my interest in exploring collaborative opportunities with her that led to five co-authored refereed publications, a number of research presentations, and our numerous invigorating and energizing conversations about research."

Rumrill, Koch's co-author on her latest book, has known her since 1996 when both joined the Kent State faculty.

"Her work in the area of client expectations during the late 1990s was truly groundbreaking, and her research is deeply rooted in the ideals of consumer empowerment and Participatory Action Research," Rumrill said. "Among her co-authors are no fewer than 38 graduate students (22 at the master's level) and several rehabilitation consumers who have lent their expertise and perspectives to Dr. Koch's research."

Rumrill said Koch has a well-earned reputation for encouraging and supporting junior faculty members and involves them in her research.

"Indeed, Dr. Koch's 'the more the merrier' approach to scholarly collaboration has paid handsome dividends," Rumrill said. "She is one of the most productive and versatile researchers in our field."

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