• iStock_000023085537_Full
  • iStock_000019022260_Full
  • iStock_000073656593_Full
  • iStock_000071466987_Full
  • iStock_000033210538_Full
  • iStock_000024732512_Full

Task force to Establish a Blueprint for Excellence: Essentials for a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) Program

This task force was created in 2020 to establish a document that guides Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) programs on how to achieve excellence. For efficiency, the task force is developing the Blueprint as a digital book with chapters that will provide a contemporary resource for all DPT academic leaders, faculty and students.  The digital format will allow for easy updating when appropriate.

Currently, over 50 experienced ACAPT members are writing the Blueprint with over 15 major topics including:

  • Framework for excellence
  • Curriculum organization
  • Clinical education
  • Interprofessional education
  • Simulation
  • Faculty success & support
  • Student success & support
  • And more.

The task force is working on a Blueprint first complete draft.  For any questions or comments, contact acapt@acapt.org.

See some other related resources and guidelines for program directors.



Explore the creation of a new document to replace the current model for physical therapy education, to serve as a resource for current and developing programs to create excellence in physical therapist education.


Use focus groups for broad feedback in order to:

  • Conduct a content assessment from ACAPT members regarding the priorities for information to be provided in a model for excellence in physical therapist education;
  • Develop the outline for a new model for educational program excellence;
  • Create a complete first draft of the new document and circulate it for feedback; and
  • Outline recommendations for how the new model would be implemented.

Guiding principles

1) Involve multiple stakeholders in physical therapy education, avoiding any proprietary interests of one practice area or commercial businesses.

2) Students, faculty, clinicians, regulatory bodies, and employers.

3) Be able to address issues within the timeline established.

4) Endeavor to work toward a positive impact for all parties involved.

5) Reflect the diversity of the profession.

6) Address the essential aspects of an effective physical therapy curriculum.

7) Address the essential aspects of an effective physical therapy educational program as a whole.

8) Include baseline expectations as well as hallmarks of excellence.

9) Include processes for assessment and improvement of the curriculum and educational program.

Work plan & reporting

1) Meets monthly via conference calls to review tasks completed and next steps to meet deadlines and objectives.

2)  Conducts face to face meetings as required according to a work plan submitted to and approved by the ACAPT board of directors.

3)  Reports progress/status to the ACAPT Board of Directors on a monthly basis.

4) Consults with Board to seek approval for any substantial departure from the original charge.

5) Requests assistance as needed for resources such as professional writing, diagrams and artwork, etc.

6) Conducts focus group discussions through existing national meetings as well as virtual conference calls and online surveys.

7) Creates a draft of the new document for consideration by the ACAPT Board of Directors.

8) Make recommendations for means of implementation and adoption of the new document by educational programs.

Committee members

Co-chairs: Barb Sanders, PT, PhD, FAPTA, Texas State University and Scott Ward, PT, PhD, FAPTA, University of Utah

Board liaison: John Buford

  • Ellen Wruble, PT, DScPT, MS, University of Delaware
  • Doug Haladay, PT, DPT, PhD, MHS, University of South Florida
  • Scott Burns, PT, DPT, Temple University
  • Shawn Drake, PT, PhD, MPT, Arkansas State University
  • Susan Ostertag, PT, DPT, University of Montana


  • Feb 1, 2020 – first task force meeting at CSM 2020 

The taskforce’s work will be considered completed when it creates a draft of the new document for consideration by the ACAPT Board of Directors along with recommendations and a draft of the new document. The Board may support and accept any or all of the recommendations.  The Board may also choose to table, take no action or edit the recommendations.  The Board will disband the taskforce when their charge is complete.

Check out the Center for Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy


ACAPT welcomes ideas & solutions to help meet the needs of DPT programs. Submit your suggestions for continuing education, professional development, guidelines, tools, best practices and more.

Center for Excellence in Physical Therapy Logo

Stay Informed & Up-To-Date with ACAPT