Doctor of Physical Therapy


Mission Statement

The Mission of the Department of Physical Therapy is to provide state of the art educational opportunities to produce autonomous practitioners of physical therapy who employ evidenced-based practice to improve the physical function, overall health and quality of life of the population.

Vision: The Vision of the Department of Physical Therapy is to be a globally recognized leader and destination of choice for exceptional physical therapy education, scholarship, service and practice.

Program Goals

  • Graduates will demonstrate the necessary skills for the competent, ethical, entry level practice of physical therapy and the motivation for lifelong learning.
  • Students will participate in service to the community and profession.
  • Students will demonstrate critical and integrative thinking skills as applied to foundational and clinical sciences.
  • Faculty members will contribute to improving the health of the population served through the discovery, dissemination and application of new knowledge relating to physical therapy education, research and clinical practice.
  • Faculty will demonstrate a commitment to the community and profession through service activities, consulting, continuing education, and advocacy for the PT profession.
  • The PT department will be a leader in the development of creative and innovative approaches for physical therapy education.

Philosophy Statement

We, the faculty and staff, believe that the success of our graduates requires a culture of excellence attained through mutual engagement of teacher and learner in a collegial environment. We strive to develop and implement educational experiences using evidence-informed principles that inspire talented and ambitious students to grow into autonomous health care professionals. We are committed to creating an interactive learning environment with clear, concisely stated outcomes. We serve as role models by being reflective practitioners, contemporary clinicians, globally recognized researchers, and innovative educators.

Professional Education

We believe that to provide the services necessary to meet the health care needs of society, physical therapy practitioners must be clinically competent, mature, self-directed, and lifelong learners who can function autonomously within a complex health care system and exhibit intellectual curiosity, openness, caring, and flexibility.

We believe that an educational program designed to provide practitioners to meet the physical therapy needs of society must reflect the views of people, society, and practitioners must include both general and professional components.

The purpose of general education is to provide a base on which the professional education can be built. General education also serves to educate individuals to function effectively in society.  We believe that physical therapy practitioners need to be open-minded, thinking individuals who are able to critically analyze ideas, understand human nature, and who have broad interests. General education has the potential for and is designed to develop these qualities in individuals.

We believe that professional education develops or enhances clinical competence, critical thinking, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and the formulation of value systems consistent with the profession.

The two major components of the professional education curriculum are clinical and academic experiences. We believe that the two components should be planned and implemented to be interdependent and to reinforce one another. We believe that the clinical competence can only be verified in the clinical setting. The academic setting is designed to provide the information and theory base which is integrated and expanded in the clinical setting.

We believe that the curriculum should be organized in a manner to integrate discrete subject matter concepts, and to stimulate problem-solving, self-awareness, and the development of professional values.  We believe that a curriculum designed around a competency based approach and organized around case based learning experiences is most effective and efficient. (Competency based means that learning experiences and evaluation are organized around the major performance behaviors that must be exhibited by the students at entry into the profession.)  We believe that spiraling learning experiences throughout the curriculum enhances the acquisition, utilization, and retention of concepts and skills necessary for competent entry level practice.

We believe that the teaching learning activity is an interactive process requiring the active participation of both the teacher and learners.  In addition, we believe that learning is an individual process and that individuality needs to be considered in the choices of teaching methodologies, within resource constraints. A wide range of teaching methodologies should be utilized to meet the stated objectives of the educational experience.

Faculty and Student Responsibilities

Faculty Responsibilities

The faculty believes that we have the responsibility for establishing acceptable levels of performance within the scope of practice as defined by the profession. We are also responsible for evaluating student performance and providing feedback to the students regarding their performance. Evaluations should be used both as a teaching tool (informative evaluation) and a certifying tool (summative evaluation). The faculty believes that preliminary clinical competence should be evaluated across courses and independent of courses within the academic setting. A critical component of the evaluation process is self-evaluation and it is the faculty's responsibility to facilitate the development of meaningful self-evaluation skills within the learners. We believe that students should have the opportunity to exhibit competence which may have been gained prior to entry into the program through life experiences.

The faculty believes that we provide the students with role models of scholarly practitioners, competent and up-to-date clinicians, researchers, and skillful educators. The faculty believes that we have the primary responsibility for establishing the learning environment in the classroom. The learners and the faculty share the responsibility for maintaining that environment. The faculty believes in a balance between faculty obligations (professional, institutional, departmental, and personal) and availability to self, to other faculty, and to students. The control of that balance lies within the individual faculty member.

Student Responsibilities

Students have the responsibility for their own learning.  This requires openness, making choices, and accepting the consequences of those choices, soliciting and providing feedback/guidance, participating in experiences offered, evaluating their own experiences, and seeking help when needed.  The qualities of the students that the professional program will enhance or develop are professional competence, critical thinking, self-evaluation, self-reliance, sensitivity, clear communication, respect for self and others, lifelong learning, self-confidence, creativity, responsibility, accountability, caring, and curiosity.

As junior colleagues and partners in the professional education experience, students may be asked participate in curriculum development, evaluation, and improvement within the Department. We have designed our curriculum to reflect this philosophy.