Faculty and Staff Profiles

Chrisann Schiro-Geist
Professor, Counsel Education Psych Research
Email: cschrgst@memphis.edu
Office Location: Ball Hall
Office Hours: Wednesdays from 1:00-4:00PM

Biographical Sketch

NAME: Schiro-Geist, Chrisann

POSITION TITLE: Professor and Director of University of Memphis Institute on Disability

eRA COMMONS USER NAME (credential, e.g., agency login): cschrgst


06/67 B.S. Biology, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

06/70 M.Ed Guidance and Counseling, Loyola University, Chicago, Illinois

08/74 Ph.D. Counseling Psychology, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

A. Personal Statement


My interest in animal-assisted therapy (AAT) dates back to 1990, when I received a small grant to develop an AAT program in conjunction with The Cheney Troupe, a Delta Society affiliate, in Chicago, Illinois. I was a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at that time and was interested in this area of research, but found limited financial support. Since my background is in vocational rehabilitation, my initial research interest focused on AAT with adults and children with disabilities. My first collaborative projects were housed at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the Illinois School for Physically Disabled Youth. These projects allowed my team to create a protocol and instruments for future studies such as Measure of Pet Intervention (MOPI), which was eventually included in the book Assessing the Human Animal Bond: A Compendium of Actual Measures (Anderson, 2007). The instruments were further developed and tested with significant results at a later project in Springfield, Illinois at the Hope School. This was major breakthrough in the literature regarding the use of AAT with children with disabilities because the positive results were able to be assessed outside of the therapeutic setting. That work resulted in two refereed articles (one for which my graduate assistant won a scholarship from the National Rehabilitation Association) and significant media coverage in Illinois; however, no new funding became available. Since coming to the University of Memphis in 2004, I have made preliminary connections with St. Jude Children’s Hospital regarding implementing AAT, but no decision has yet been made on funding that work. My hope is that this application will finally give the support needed to do a larger, methodologically sound study of the effects of AAT on children, in FETCH’s case, children who have had traumatic life experiences. As we learned from the Hope School project, the results of the therapy are only really valuable when they make a change in the lives of the subjects outside of the therapeutic environment. I look forward to documenting and replicating those external life-changes related to the therapy with this new population. The scientific documentation of successful external improvement will likely allow other funding agencies within and outside of NIH to consider funding this important work.

B. Positions and Honors



8/07-Present Director, University of Memphis Institute on Disability (UMID)

9/04–8/07 Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, University of Memphis(UM) Responsibilities include: Oversight of Graduate School, Undergraduate Curriculum, Advising and Programs, Summer School and Part-time Faculty, Honors Programs, International Programs, Faculty Development, Advanced Learning Center, University Assessment Activities, including Accreditation and Academic Audits

9/04-Present Professor, Counseling, Educational Psychology & Research, University of Memphis (UM)


 3/03 -10/04 Director, Disability and Rehabilitation Education and Training, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Public Engagement and Institutional Relations, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)

6/00 – 10/04 Director, Disability Research Institute, College of Applied Life Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

8/93 – 10/04 Professor, Department of Community Health, College of Applied Life Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).


Distinguished Career in Rehabilitation given by the National Council on Rehabilitation

Education, February 21, 2009.

Job Placement Division of National Rehabilitation Association, National Citation, November 11, 2009.

Visionary Leadership Award, El Valor Services, November 1, 2004.

Professional Memberships

1976-current American Psychological Association

1974-current American Counseling Association

1975-current National Council on Rehabilitation Education

C. Selected Peer Reviewed Publications (Selected from 66 peer-reviewed publications)


Most relevant to the current application

1. Heimlich, K., Schiro-Geist, C., & Broadbent, E. (2003). Animal-assisted therapy and the child with severe disabilities: A case study. Journal of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals. 11(3), 17-22.

2. Schiro-Geist, C. (1990). (Ed). Vocational counseling with special populations. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

3. Geist, C., & Calzaretta, W. (1982). Placement handbook for counseling disabled persons. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas,Illinois.

Additional recent publications

1. Martz, E., Crandall, L. A., Schiro-Geist, C., & Broadbent, E. (in press). Predicting employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities: Attitudes and perceived barriers to work. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling.

2. Dutta, A., Kundu, M. M., & Schiro-Geist, C. (2009). Coordination of postsecondary transition services for students with disabilities. Journal of Rehabilitation, 75(1), 10-17.

3. Balesteri, C., Stancil, B., Broadbent, E., & Schiro-Geist, C. (2008). Retention of vocational rehabilitation customers in community college. The Rehabilitation Professional, 16(3), 155-160.

4. So, S., Schiro-Geist, C., Jain, S., & Broadbent, E. (2008). What happens to the day? A study of household time allocation changes following a disabling event. The Rehabilitation Professional, 16(3), 161-170.

5. Stipe, S., Dunleavey, T., Broadbent, E., & Schiro-Geist, C. (2008) An analysis of key characteristics and practices of vocational experts hired by the Social Security Administration. The Rehabilitation Professional, 16 (1), 29-35.

6. Broadbent, E., King, C., & Schiro-Geist, C. (2007). Accreditation: CORE/CACREP, IARP members’ perceptions. The Rehabilitation Professional, 14 (2), 8-12.

7. Schiro-Geist, C. (2006). Freedom Chasers media review. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 37(4), 41.

8. Schiro-Geist, C. Broadbent, E. & Boyraz, G. (2006). The role of comprehensive standards in a continuum of educational opportunities for rehabilitation and disabilities practitioners. The Rehabilitation Professional, 13(4), 25-29.

9. King, C., Schiro-Geist, C., & Broadbent, E. (2005). Accreditation: To merge or not. The Rehabilitation Professional, 12(4), 6-8.

10. Kundu, M. M., Schiro-Geist, C., & Dutta, A. (2005). A systems approach to placement: A holistic technique. Journal of Forensic Vocational Analysis, 8, 23-29.

11. Schiro-Geist, C., Marme, M., Kundu, M., Crandall, L., Broadbent, E., & Dunleavy, T. (2004). Psychosocial predictors of participation in return to work programs. Journal of Rehabilitation Counseling, 12(4), 41-50.

12. Schiro-Geist, C., Cardador, M. & Broadbent, E. (2003). A tribute to Jack Duncan’s contributions to rehabilitation policy, education and training. Rehabilitation Education, 17(3), 190-199.

13. Dutta, A., Schiro-Geist, C., Kundu M., & Broadbent, E. (2001). Status of women professionals in rehabilitation professionals in rehabilitation education. Journal of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals, 9(4), 37-40.

14. Healy, M., Bruce, A., Crandall, L., Schiro-Geist, C., & Broadbent, E. (1999). The future of training: An international distance learning model for forensic vocational specialists. The Journal of Forensic Vocational Assessment, 3 (1), 20-32.

15. Williams, B., Schiro-Geist, C., & Garske, G. (1999). The financial costs of mental illness. Journal of Rehabilitation, 65(4), 39-44.

D. Research Support



Learning and Achievement to Decrease Dependency through Education and Rehabilitation:

LADDER,Workforce Investment Network (11/1/10-current)

Contract for $225,000

Role: PI

Completed (selected funded research)

Workforce Investment Network and COM*PASS Summer Youth Employment (05/09-12/09)

ARRA Stimulus Grant

Contact for $299, 062.

Role: PI

University of Memphis Institute on Disability (2/1/07-12/31/09)

Support grant from the Assisi Foundation

Contract for $9,307.

Role: PI

Rehabilitation Research Institute for Under-Represented Populations (2/1/03-2/1/08)

Sub-contract from Southern University, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation

Contract for $175,000.

Role: PI

Carle Foundation Hospital, Household Time Demands and Labor Supply of Disabled Persons (2003) Contract for $9,894.

Role: PI

Rehabilitation Services Administration—Facilitation of Long-Term Data Base (2002)

Contract for $46,296.

Role: PI

Department of Labor, Assessment of Test Questions to Identify Disability Status (2001)

Contract for $115,000.

Role: PI

U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of Policy, Disability Programs, Disability Research Institute (2000-2005)

Contract for $18 million

Role: Co-PI

The Chenney Troupe, Chicago Illinois (1990)

Grant to College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Contract for $10,000

Additional Information