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

Purpose: 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.

Objectives: 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 and 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 meeting of Task Force at CSM 2020. 
  • August 2020 – Preliminary report to Board recommending main content areas of the new document.
  • ELC 2020 – Meet with Board to make decisions and choose content outline.
  • CSM 2021 – Initial draft ready for review and feedback.
  • August 2021 – Presents first complete draft and recommendations to the Board. 

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


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