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Debra Harley
208B Taylor Education Building
(859) 257-7199

Dr. Harley received her bachelor’s degree in psychology (1981) and master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling (1983) from South Carolina State University. After completing her master’s degree, she worked as an employment counselor and a rehabilitation counselor in South Carolina. Dr. Harley received her doctoral degree in special education with concentrations in early childhood and in rehabilitation counseling from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1992). Before joining the faculty at the University of Kentucky (UK) she taught at Eastern Illinois University.

Her research foci include cultural diversity, gender issues, LGBTQ, substance abuse, aging, and ethics. Dr. Harley has authored 85 refereed journal articles; 45 book chapters; 29 book reviews, editorials, and comments; 9 conference proceedings, and 2 books in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, LGBTQ elderly, offender populations, and disability and race. She is past editor of the Journal of Rehabilitation Administration and the Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling. She is a Mary E. Switzer Scholar and recipient of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education Educator of the Year Award (2006) and the Sylvia Walker Education Award (2001). Dr. Harley hold the distinction of Provost’s Distinguished Service Professor and received the Provost’s Award for Outstanding Teaching as a Tenured Faculty (2002). She is a former Chair of the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education at UK. In 2006 she was an inaugural inductee into the South Carolina State University Rehabilitation Counseling Program Hall of Fame.

Dr. Harley is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Licensed Professional Counselor. She served as a Commissioner for the Council on Rehabilitation Education and Commissioner and Board Member for Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification. Dr. Harley is affiliated with the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the African American Studies and Research Program, and the Center on Research on Violence Against Women at the University of Kentucky. In addition to being a faculty member in the Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Counseling, Dr. Harley has taught in the Honor’s Program, the Discovery Seminar, Women’s Studies, and Special Education.

Vita (PDF)

Research categories: Rehabilitation Counseling, Early Childhood Education, Diversity in Education, Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Gender Studies, Special Education