Melanie Harms-Espelan, Ph.D.
Department Chair, Associate Professor
Ph.D. in Special Education, Autism Spectrum & Behavior Disorders (2013) – University of Kansas; Lawrence, Kan.
M.M.E. in Music Therapy (2003) – University of Kansas; Lawrence, Kan.
B.M.E. with Music Therapy (1999) – Wartburg College; Waverly, Iowa
Born and raised in Forest City, Iowa, Dr. Harms Espeland returns to engage with the community and share her experiences ranging from Los Angeles to the Bronx, Florida and Kansas. Dr. Harms Espeland has proudly served as a Board-Certified Music Therapist for 20 years in schools, private practice, hospice and more. Former positions held include Director of Music Therapy at Wartburg College, President of the Iowa Chapter of Music Therapy, Co-Chair of the AMTA Standards of Clinical Practice, Representative on the AMTA Approval of Academic Programs Committee, Director of Music Therapy and Big Bend Hospice, Contracted Music Therapist at several schools, and Collaborative Consultant for Autism Spectrum and Behavior Disorders. Research interests remain high in areas of Music therapy and autism, neurological development and rehabilitation, and memory recall and decay, and anxiety/depression as well as pedagogy in music, assessment in music, retention and relations in higher ed, technology on accessibility to the arts and leadership qualities in the arts.
Dr. Harms Espeland enjoys connecting the community with the arts whether performing an aria from an opera or sharing folk tunes with her guitar at the assisted living facility. Other joys in her life include spending time with her family, running and wood projects.