Kate Gfeller is director of graduate studies in the Music Therapy Program in the School of Music, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She holds the Russell B. and Florence D. Day Chair of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her research focuses on perception of and affective response to music, more specifically in persons with disabilities.
Dr. Gfeller is a member of the Iowa Cochlear Implant Team at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Department of Otolaryngology. As Principal Investigator for the Music Perception Project, she investigates musical perception and enjoyment by deafened adults who use a bionic inner ear called the cochlear implant, a project which is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Gfeller has also been involved in applied research and clinical protocols for aural rehabilitation of children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing, and her work has been funded by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation. Other research investigating music therapy practices for adults with Alzheimer's Disease has been funded by the Federal Administration on Aging.
In 2011, Dr. Gfeller was the recipient of an award for Outstanding Research and Publications bestowed by the American Music Therapy Association. She was also an invited speaker for the 2011 Chicago Humanities Festival, and keynote speaker for the 13th Symposium on Cochlear Implants in Children. In 2005, Dr. Gfeller was awarded a Michael J. Brody Award for Faculty Excellence in Service. In 2004, Dr. Gfeller was the recipient of a Distinguished Achievement Award for an ongoing record of outstanding contributions in her profession, through service, and as a mentor. She was chosen to deliver the 2003 Presidential Lecture for The University of Iowa. In 2001, Dr. Gfeller was awarded an Iowa Board of Regent Faculty Excellence Award for extraordinary excellence in teaching, research and service. She is the recipient of the 1996 award for excellence in research and publication by the National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT). She has also been honored by NAMT for outstanding contribution in the area of governmental relations. Gfeller is the recipient of a Burlington Northern Faculty Excellence award for outstanding teaching and scholarship and an Obermann Humanities Symposium Award for interdisciplinary scholarship. She is a Fellow of the CIC Academic Leadership Program and she was named 1997 Visiting Research Faculty for the Humanities at the University of Queensland, Australia. Gfeller is co-author of the book, Music Therapy: Theory and Practice, and numerous other books, articles, chapters, and monographs. She has presented throughout the U.S., as well as in Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, Austria, France, Spain, Brazil, Singapore, Switzerland, Argentina, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Germany, Russian, The Ukraine, Armenia, Malaysia, Sweden, Greece, and the Netherlands.