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Kelly Coker, PhD, LCMHC, QLS, BC-TMHC


Full Professor

Contact Information:

Other Positions:

Faculty Director of Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes




  • PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision from UNC-Greensboro (CACREP Accredited)
  • MBA from Walden University
  • MA in Agency Counseling from Appalachian State University (CACREP Accredited)


Dr. Kelly Coker (she/her) is a professor in the Counseling Department at Palo Alto University and also serves as the Faculty Director of Assessment and Student Learning Outcomes at PAU. Dr. Coker has been a counselor educator for more years than she can count and as part of this work, has published and presented a lot.

She loves to encourage emerging counselors to be their best selves and to always strive to meet their clients where they are. Dr. Coker is particularly excited these days by considering how lifespan development through a cultural and contextual lens can directly inform our work with clients.

As a licensed clinical mental health counselor (LCMHC) in North Carolina, Dr. Coker works with adult clients in a small, tele-mental health private practice. On a personal note, she is also a fierce and loyal wife, mother, sister, daughter, and aunt, and friend. She believes in advocacy, taking an anti-racist stance in education, society, and life, and acknowledges that she is humbly still learning, growing, and evolving.

Areas of Interest:

Online learning, Tele-mental health counseling, Assessment and Accreditation in Higher Education, Lifespan Development

Selected Publications:


Russo, J., Coker, J. K., King, J. H. (in press). DSM-5-TR and Family Systems, 2nd Ed. Springer Publishing Company.

Coker, J. K., Cannon, K., Dixon-Saxon, S., & Roller, K. (2022). Lifespan development: Contextual and cultural dimensions. Springer Publishing Company.


Bond, J. C., & Coker, J. K. (2022). The impact of twin separation on adult experiences. Journal of Human Services, 41(1), 10-21.

Simmons, R., Coker, J. K., Hanks, B., Sheperis, D., & Bohecker, L. (2021). Mothering identity experiences: A backwards glance. The Family Journal, 1-9.

Coker, J. K., Snow, W., & Hinkle, S. (2021). The past, present and future of online counselor education. Journal of Technology in Counselor Education and Supervision, 1(1), 39-41.

Chen, S. Y., Coker, J. K., Wathen, C., & Sheperis, D. (2021). Effects of clinical skills training: Technology and pedagogy for the quality virtual classroom. Journal of Technology in Counselor Education and Supervision, 1(1) 49-52.

Ju, J., Merrell-James, R., Coker, J. K., Ghoston, M., Casado Perez, J., & Field, T. (2020). Recruiting, supporting, retaining underrepresented doctoral students from diverse backgrounds. The Professional Counselor, 10(4), 581-602.

Snow, W.H. & Coker, J. K., (2020). Distance education: Past, present and future. The Professional Counselor, 10(1), 40-56.

Sheperis, D., Coker, J. K., Haag, E., & Salem-Peace, F. (2020). Online counselor education: A student-faculty collaboration. The Professional Counselor, 10(1), 133-143.




Websites and Other Relevant Links:

Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP)

PAU Department of Counseling Homepage

PAU's CACREP accreditation