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Task Force to Develop Best Practices in Admissions & Retention

Task Force to Develop Best Practices in Admissions/Retention at Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) Programs


  • To identify strategies and admissions practices for successful recruitment and retention.


To achieve its purpose, the Task Force will: 

  • Conduct discussions with NEDIC, NABPT, AAPT, APTA’s student assembly and DEI committee, external groups representing underrepresented individuals, and admissions officers from member institutions.
  • Compile findings that identify common themes for both successful and unsuccessful admissions/recruitment strategies.
  • Explore retention strategies to maximize successful completion of PT education for all enrolled students.
  • Evaluate enrollment trends and the factors that influence those trends.
  • Conduct focus group discussions with students to confirm or expand on findings from the evaluation of enrollment trends.
  • Identify current and future threats to admissions.
  • The task force is committed to ensuring that its work will be rooted in principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. By integrating DEI considerations into our work, we aim to address systemic disparities, remove barriers, and foster an environment where all individuals, regardless of their background, have equal access to opportunities and representation within the field of physical therapy.


By following the above objectives, and any others identified, this Task Force will create resources for use by all institutions, which shall include:

  • Recommendations that provide a broad outline on best practices in recruitment/admissions for a diverse body of students, incorporating NEDIC task force results.
  • Guidelines on best practices for the retention, progression, and graduation of admitted students.
  • Strategies to support admissions staff.
  • Strategies for programs to address current and future threats to admissions.
  • Webinars and educational sessions at the Physical Therapy Education Leadership Conference (ELC) on the above.


The Task Force shall not exceed 10 people.  The Task Force will seek to have:

  • Representatives from recruitment and/or admissions offices, not exclusive to physical therapy.
  • A student representative from or identified by the APTA Student Assembly Board of Directors.
  • Representatives with senior leadership experience who could provide background on what it takes to implement the outcomes.
  • Representatives from research-intensive institutions. 
  • Representatives from large and small institutions.
  • Representation from diverse geographic and practice settings.

The Chair’s primary responsibility will be to ensure the Task Force is meeting its charge as outlined above and within the timeline defined.  The Chair will meet quarterly with the Institute Chair and Vice Chair, providing written progress reports on the work of the Task Force.

The Vice Chair will serve as the secretary of the Task Force whose responsibilities include polling for meetings, developing the agenda with the Chair, circulating minutes to Task Force members, staff and the Institute Chair and Vice Chair, and delivering all documents and work products to ACAPT for archiving.

  • To ensure diverse engagement and equitable opportunities, no person serving on the Task Force may be serving on another of ACAPT’s volunteer leadership groups unless permission is sought and granted in advance by the Board of Directors.
  • The Task Forces are accountable to their Institute Chair and Vice Chair, who are accountable to the ACAPT Board of Directors.
  • All who are appointed to the Task Force will receive a letter acknowledging their appointment that may support promotion and/or tenure.


  • Task force members will meet or communicate at least monthly via conference calls and emails to review tasks completed and next steps to meet project milestones. 
  • Task force members may meet at CSM in person or virtually.  The budget will determine if/what resources are available to support such a meeting.
  • The Institute Chair and Vice Chair will conduct a virtual meeting quarterly with all task force chairs and vice chairs within that Institute to evaluate progress on their charge and to address any barriers or potential changes needed to their charge in response to changes in the profession.
  • The Task Force will submit information to the Institute Chair and Vice Chair that may reflect their activity during the year and reported in ACAPT’s annual report, which is created in August and disseminated to members electronically in September.
  • Task forces should be prepared to discuss their activity with ACAPT members at the Physical Therapy Education Leadership Conference (ELC) during a networking event created for the Institute.
  • Task forces are expected to conclude their work by December of the calendar year in which they were created. 
  • If a task force needs more time than the calendar year for which they were created, the Chair of the task force will notify the Institute Chair.  Together, they will evaluate what is causing the delay, evaluate if there are new circumstances informing the work not previously identified, and if there are additional resources needed.  If the need for additional time is determined necessary by the Institute Chair, they will submit a request to the Board for an extension, to include how that may impact resources.  The Board will make an assessment based on the charge, needed outcomes, and resources available and either extend the work for a limited time, expand the size of the task force to increase productivity to meet the charge and timeline, or disband the task force.
  • The final work product(s) will reside on ACAPT’s website and shall be an ACAPT product.


ChairAndrea Bowens, PT, DPT, PhD - Samford University 

Vice Chair: Heather K. Henderson, PT, DPT - Northwestern University 

  • Andrea Bowens, PT, DPT, PhD - Samford University
  • Heather K. Henderson, PT, DPT - Northwestern University
  • Stephanie Malaspina, PT, DPT - California State University Long Beach
  • Brett D. Neilson, PT, DPT, DSc - Hawai'i Pacific University
  • Lora Packel, PT, PhD - Saint Joseph's University
  • Shari Rone-Adams, PT, MHSA, DBA - Nova Southeastern University
  • Heather H. Ross, PT, MPT, PhD - Brenau University
  • Barbara Sanders, PT, PhD - Texas State University
  • Kunal Singhal, PT, PhD - University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences 

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