CSU Service 1981 to 2000
Dean, Provost/Academic Vice President at CSU
Faculty and Head, Department of Occupational Therapy
Personal Background and Family
Ellie was born and raised in Ottumwa, Iowa with her three older siblings. Her mother was a stay-at-home mom, and her father worked with his brother at their manufacturing company. Ellie met her future husband, Gene Gilfoyle, at a party she attended with her sister at the Boulder Reservoir. Gene and Ellie Gilfoyle were married in 1958 and decided to establish their home in Colorado. Gene worked at StorageTek for many years in accounting. They have a son, who now has three step-children and three children of his own. While his family waits for a new home to be built in Tennessee, Ellie has enjoyed hosting her family in her home and finds one of her favorite hobbies is playing with her grandchildren.
Sadly, Gene passed away on Nov. 9, 2010, at his home in Loveland. He and Ellie were married for 53 years and together they enjoyed all Colorado has to offer, including camping, skiing, hiking, handball, tennis, rewarding careers in finance, occupational therapy and higher education, as well as a vibrant social life. Family and innumerable friends were the epicenter of Gene and Ellie’s life together. They were true “Ram” fans attending football, basketball, and volleyball games.
Education and Pre-CSU Employment
Ellie attended Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa from 1952-1954. Upon entering school, her roommate at the time was an OT student who worked in an area hospital. One day, Ellie joined her at the hospital and discovered that she appreciated OT’s approach, which emphasized ability rather than disability. From that moment on, Ellie was hooked.
She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Occupational Therapy at the State University of Iowa City, Iowa in 1956. Ellie received her Advanced Certificate in Professional Occupational Therapy in 1958 from State University of Iowa.
After moving to Colorado upon graduation, Ellie found employment as an occupational therapist at Denver General Hospital, then at Craig Hospital in Denver where she was one of the founding therapists that initiated the quality rehabilitation program that is nationally recognized. From Craig, she went to The Children’s Hospital, Denver to begin her career serving children with handicapping conditions.
For her extensive work with children, Ellie was selected to be a member of a Fellowship in Child Development at the Department of Pediatrics from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center from 1964 – 1966. Working as a founding therapist to establish the John F. Kennedy Child Development Center, Ellie developed her research expertise and also began teaching OT students from CSU. She enjoyed working with fellow pediatric fellows, while teaching medical classes in pediatric OT.
Ellie also worked as a member of a child abuse and child development research team at the Denver Department of Health. The American Occupational Therapy Association employed her to direct a U.S. Department of Education grant that resulted in an innovative national curriculum to prepare occupational therapists to serve children and youth in public school programs. From her research and design of treatment programs she and a colleague designed a theory about neurodevelopment in children with central nervous systems. The theory continues to be used as a basis for treatment. Ellie was recognized by her profession with the association’s highest scholastic award, The Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science degree from Colorado State University for her scholarly contributions to the advancement of occupational therapy.
What brought her to CSU?
When she moved to the John F. Kennedy Child Development Center, CSU students were coming to Denver during their senior year to take medical courses they didn’t have in Fort Collins. During this time, CSU was up for accreditation, but could not receive it unless students had more access to medical courses and medicine. Ellie was excited to teach all of the pediatric courses, where she fell in love with teaching.
After she left John F. Kennedy with a grant from the American Occupational Association, CSU called her, asking her to apply for open faculty position. With the grant almost up, Ellie visited Dean Helen McHugh at CSU, who gave her the opportunity to work as an Associate Professor. Within a year, Ellie applied and was rewarded a tenured full professor position. A few years later, Ellie became the department head of Occupational Therapy.
She knew that she wanted to be a leader from a young age, back during her days as a Girl Scout. Ellie consistently put herself in positions where she could be a leader. Interestingly, she never set a goal to be a department head, a dean, a provost – instead, she focused on putting herself in positions where she could learn about leadership and systems. Ellie has found that her life was not about goal setting, rather she sought and took advantage of opportunities.
Dates of Employment at CSU
Dr. Ellie Gilfoyle first joined Colorado State University in 1981 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. In 1986, she became a Professor, followed by her position as the Assistant Dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences, as well as Department Head of Occupational Therapy. From 1989 – 1991, Ellie served as Dean of the College of Applied Human Sciences, and was named Provost/Academic Vice President at Colorado State University in 1991 –the first woman to hold that post in the institution’s history. During her tenure at CSU, she founded and directed the Institute for Women and Leadership, an educational and research program whose mission is the promotion of women and inclusive leadership.
- Gilfoyle, E. Grady, A. & Neilson, Cathy. (2009). Mentoring Leaders: Using Stories to Build Leadership Capacity. Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press:
- Gilfoyle, E. (1992). Chapter 13: Future Directions: Consultation as a Vital Service. In A.J. Jaffee, Occupational Therapy Consultation: Theory, Principles and Practice. St. Louis: Mosby Publications.
- Schatz, M., Gilfoyle, E., & Miles, B. (1991). Enhancing child development: The beginning years. A module for fostering families project, Contract No. C951200 and UAA717C0000001. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado State University and Colorado Department of Social Services, pp. 255.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1991). Chapter 20: The Future of Occupational Therapy: An Environment of Opportunity. In S. E. Ryan (Ed.), The occupational therapy assistant: Roles and responsibilities (revised ed.). Thorofare, NJ: Charles B. Slack.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1989). Leadership and Occupational Therapy. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 43 (9), 567-570.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1988). Foreword in Research for the Allied Health Professions, Royeen, C. Thorofare, NJ.: Charles B. Slack.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1988). Occupational Therapy in the United States. The Japanese Journal of Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy, 22(5), 324-325.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1998). Partnerships for the Future. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 42(8), 485 -488.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1987). Foreword in Opportunities in occupational therapy careers. Abbott, M., Franciscus, M., Weeks, Z. Lincolnwood, IL: VGM Career Horizons.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1987). Foreword in Occupational therapy in mental health: A guide to outcomes research. Ostrow, P. (Ed.). Rockville, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1987). Creative partnerships: The profession’s plan. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 41 (12), 779-781.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1987). Leadership and management. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 41(5), 281-283.
- Gilfoyle, E. and Christiansen, C. (1987). Research: The quest for truth and the key to excellence. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 41(1), 7-8.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1986). Taking care of ourselves as health care providers. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 40(6), 387-389.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1986). Professional directions: Management in action. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 40(8), 691-695.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1986). The future of occupational therapy: An environment of opportunity. In S. Ryan (Ed.), Roles and relationships of the certified occupational therapy assistant (Epilogue). Thorofare, NJ: Charles B. Slack.
- Gilfoyle, E. & Gliner, J. (1985). Attitudes toward handicapped children. Impact of an educational program. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 5(4), 27-41.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1985). Related service in the public schools. Fort Collins: Colorado State University.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1984). Transformation of a profession. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 38(9). 575-584. Also published in A professional legacy, (1985), p. 431-477. Rockville, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.
- Gilfoyle, E., Grady, A., & Moore, J. (1981). Children adapt. Thorofare, NJ: Charles B. Slack.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1980). Caring: A philosophy for practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 34(8), 517-521.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1980). Training: Occupational therapy educational management in schools (Editor and Major Author). An eight-manual competency-based program text. Rockville, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1979). Occupational therapy roles and functions in the education of the school-based handicapped student. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 33(9), 565-576.
- Gilfoyle, E., & Grady, A. (1978). Posture and movement. Minimal brain dysfunction. In H. Hopkins & H. Smith (Eds.), Willard and Spackman’s occupational therapy, (5th ed., Chapter 3, Section 2, and Chapter 14). Philadelphia: Lippincott.
- Price, A., Gilfoyle, E. & Myers, C. (Eds.) (1976). Research in sensory-integrative development and practice: A collection of works of A. Jean Ayers (monograph). Rockville, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.
- Henderson, A., Llorens, L., & Gilfoyle, E. (1976). The development of sensory integrative theory and practice: A collection of works of A. Jean Ayers (monograph). Rockville, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.
- Yerxa, E., & Gilfoyle, E. (1976). Research seminar. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 30(8), 509-514.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1973). Research in sensory integrative development. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 27(4), 189-191.
- Gilfoyle, E., & Grady, A. (1971). A developmental theory of sensorimotor reactions and spontaneous integrative behavior. In A. Henderson (Ed.), Somatosensory Perceptual Deficits. Boston, MA: Boston University Press.
- Gilfoyle, E., & Grady, A. (1970). Cognitive-perceptual-motor development. In C. Spackman & H. Willard (Eds.) Occupational therapy (4th ed., Chapter 14). Philadelphia, Lippincott.
- Martin, H., Gilfoyle, E., Fischer, H. & Grueter, B. (1969). Assessment of perceptual development. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 23(5), 387-396.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1966). The three faces of evaluation. In W. West (Ed.), Evaluation and treatment of perceptual-motor dysfunction. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1965). Functional bracing in the treatment of cerebral palsy. In W. West (Ed.), Occupational therapy for the multiply handicapped child. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.
- Gilfoyle, E. (1962). Functional hand bracing. Children’s Hospital Medical Journal, Denver, Colorado.
- Young, J., Gordon, G., & Gilfoyle, E. (1961, April). Functional use of “nylon” muscle in severe quadriplegia. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Honors and Awards
1996 – Inducted into Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame
1994 – Award, Black Student Affairs, for significant contributions to African-American students a Colorado State University
1993 – Service Award, The American Occupational Therapy Association, for significant contributions to the Association.
1991 – Award of Merit, The American Occupational Therapy Association, for sustained contributions to the development of the profession and Association.
1990 – Certificate of Appreciation, The American Occupational Therapy Association, for outstanding scholarly contributions to the profession.
1989 – Selected by The American Occupational Therapy Association as one of ten individuals nationwide whose contributions have had a significant impact on the practice, education, and research of the profession.
1989 – Service Award, The American Occupational Therapy Association, for distinguished service as President, 1986-1989.
1988 – Selected as Delegation Leader, Citizens Ambassador Program, People-to-People Educational Programs, Republic of China.
1987 – Service Award, Florida Occupational Therapy Association, for distinguished service to the development of the profession of occupational therapy.
1987 – Recognition for distinguished service for the profession and Association, Occupational Therapy Association of Indiana.
1987 – American Occupational Therapy Foundation, distinguished service for the promotion of knowledge and research as a member of the Editorial Board of Occupational Therapy Journal of Research. American Occupational Therapy Association.
1986 – Service Award, Occupational Therapy Association of Massachusetts, for distinguished service to the profession of occupational therapy.
1986 – U.S. Army Golden Medallion Award, U.S. Army Medical Specialist Corps (one of five persons to receive this award since 1947 for distinguished services in the promotion of the allied health profession in the military).
1985 – Service Award, American Occupational Therapy Association, for distinguished service as Secretary, 1983-1985.
1984 – Selected as Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecturer for the American Occupational Therapy Association (Association’s Highest Scholastic Award).
1982 – Selected as one of three finalists for “Educator of the Year” for the American Society of Association Executives.
1973 – Selected to the Roster of Fellows, American Occupational Therapy Association.
1972 – Elected to membership in the Society for Behavioral Kinesiology.
1971 – Selected as the Marjorie Ball Lecturer, Occupational Therapy Association of Colorado (the Association’s highest scholastic award).
1969 – Selected as one of eight representatives to the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s project entitled, “Research Development for Allied Health Professions.”
American Occupational Therapy Association
- President, 1986-1989
- President-Elect, 1985-1986
- Secretary, 1983-1985 and 1974-1977
- Member, Accreditation Evaluator, 1989-1993
- Liaison, Commission on Practice – Occupational Therapy in the Public Schools, 1979-1982
- Secretary, American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee, 1976-1978
- Chair, Task Force on Organizational Design and Transitional Planning, 1975-1978
- Member, Editorial Board, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 1970-1975
- Chairman, Research Training Workshop, 1970-1972
- Organization of Affiliate Presidents, 1965-1970
- Member, Council on Development – Liaison to Student Organization, 1970-1972
- Member, Recognitions Committee, 1972-1974
- Chairperson, AOTA Annual Conference, 1964
American Occupational Therapy Foundation
- Member, Editorial Review Board, American Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 1985-1987
- Member, Executive Board, 1986-1989
- Member, Research Development Committee, 1985-1989
Colorado Occupational Therapy Association
- Executive Board Member, 1979-1989
- President, 1966-1970
- Vice-President, 1962-1964
- Secretary, 1960-1962
Society for Behavioral Kinesiology
- Co-Chairman, Annual Conference, 1972
- World Federation of Occupational Therapy
- American Society for Allied Health Professions
What is Ellie doing today?
Upon retiring from CSU, Ellie worked as a consultant to the President of the University of Northern Colorado and academic administrators. Together with faculty and staff, she led the efforts to develop a total reorganization effort for the University. During her tenure and beyond, Ellie worked as an independent contractor for The Tointon Institute for Educational Change at the University of Northern Colorado, where she was a major presenter in the Academic Leadership Program for School Principals.
She also worked as a consultant for U.S. Maternal and Child Health Services to Division of Health and Human Services for Hawaii State Department of Public Health. In this position, Ellie focused on problem identification and facilitation of a process to promote interagency collaboration. She was also employed as a consultant for many grants at several Universities. Working as a facilitator for the Mentoring Company, Ellie contracted with corporate 500 companies where she worked with groups of management employees to promote leadership with diverse groups.
Since retiring fully in 2011, Ellie wrote a book titled, Mentoring Leaders: Using Stories to Build Leadership Capacity, which focuses on power using storytelling as a tool for mentoring. Research to measure the effectiveness of storytelling to build leadership capacity has been measured and reported in the book. She continues to enjoy writing and reading, going out to lunch with friends, and spending quality time with her grandchildren.