Statement of the Curricular Philosophy | Doctor of Physical Therapy

The DPT Program faculty believe the process required to educate a physical therapy professional is complex and multi-faceted. It involves the student, core faculty, associated faculty, clinical education faculty, academic institution and professional community. The educational process is developmental, integrated, and relevant. Therefore, the DPT Program, grounded in the liberal arts, synthesizes content in a progressive manner from foundational sciences to clinical sciences and applications to current practice. Physical therapy values and behaviors are central to the educational process and are an integral part of the curriculum. Thus, the DPT Program includes the APTA Core Values and Core Professional Behaviors as required components for all didactic and clinical education courses. Contemporary physical therapists must exhibit clinical aptitude in the patient/client management and practice management domains described in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice. Professional preparation provides a foundation for graduates to serve society as expert practitioners and clinical scholars.

Graduates are prepared to practice with moral sensitivity, social responsibility, and cultural awareness in the current health care environment including under-served areas or settings. Understanding values of the physical therapy profession and other related professions, as well as health care economics and policy, allows graduates to impact health care delivery systems in their communities. Graduates have a lifelong commitment to self-directed learning and critical inquiry recognizing that completion of their professional education is the first phase on a continuum of phases to mastery and competency in physical therapy. Graduates contribute to the profession and society by seeking and disseminating knowledge gained in practice.

The DPT Program faculty believe in continuous integration of theory and practice across the curriculum and therefore integrate content across disciplines, clinical application with foundational sciences, part-time clinical education emphasizing wellness and prevention within a service-learning model with didactic course work and full-time clinical internships within the curriculum. The DPT Program faculty believe in collaborative teaching with planned redundancy of subject matter. Therefore, to meet our educational mission the DPT Program uses a variety of individuals including, but not limited to academic and clinical physical therapists; other professionals; basic, behavioral, and social scientists; patients and care givers; and the community. Academic and clinical faculty facilitate learning, serve as resources, and share their content expertise in their area of specialization, allowing intra-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary instruction. These principles and values shape the curriculum which is designed as a hybrid model with content anchored in the liberal arts, foundational sciences, and critical thinking for evidence-based clinical reasoning to develop clinicians capable of providing best care while advancing practice through scholarly activity.

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