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New vision for ACAPT organizational structure

ACAPT's core purpose is to lead physical therapy in the pursuit of academic physical therapy excellence. To support this vision of creating a shared culture of excellence and improve societal health: 

  • In 2019, ACAPT defined its Criteria of Excellence, seeking to create a shared culture of excellence in academic physical therapy to improve societal health.
  • In 2022, ACAPT built upon the Criteria of Excellence foundation to create an Excellence Framework in academic PT.  

Over the last couple years, the ACAPT Board, in consultation with members and leaders, has been envisioning an improved organizational structure that would support the excellence criteria.  Throughout the evaluative process, it has become clear based upon feedback from members and leaders that ACAPT needs to implement a more streamlined organizational structure that would integrate these criteria into our day-to-day operations, governance, mission, and vision. 

To achieve this vision, and in response to member-identified challenges and needs shared as part of this multi-year process, the ACAPT Board has strategically restructured current resources by establishing following four Institutes; leadership elections are in process and the Institutes' planning will continue through 2023:

  1. Institute for Academic Advancement

     to support and promote institutional characteristics that reflect an intentional pursuit of excellence. This Institute will encourage institutional programmatic and clinical development; foster leadership excellence; advance diversity, equity, and inclusion; and facilitate programmatic innovation.

  2. Institute for Teaching and Learning

     to support and promote curricular attributes that ensure outcomes of educational excellence. This Institute will help to encourage institutional educational excellence; facilitate excellence in clinical education; foster curricular innovation; advance educational technology; and integrate professional formation.

  3. Institute for Scholarly Inquiry

     to cultivate a culture of scholarship and research and ongoing assessment of outcomes in academic programs. This Institute will support scientific research to grow the profession; encourage implementation of discoveries into practice and education; develop best practices for scientific, educational, and community-based research; cultivate research leadership and bolster educational preparation through research outcomes.

  4. Institute for Community Engagement

     to support and promote community and stakeholder engagement in the shared pursuit of excellence. This Institute will promote educational and clinical partnerships; engage in societal health and wellness; and enhance engagement across healthcare disciplines.

These four Institutes will be supported by the Center for Excellence in Academic Physical Therapy, established in 2021 for the purpose of creating a culture of excellence and assessment for academic physical therapy through trustworthy and transparent data management and analysis. 

Each Institute would be:

  • Supported by a member-elected chair and vice chair, along with a Board and staff liaison.
  • Comprised of task forces that are responsive to the strategic plan, member needs, and emerging issues or opportunities.
  • Integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Consider the role and impact on interprofessional and clinical education.
  • Designed with specific objectives and a dedicated budget.
  • Guided by the principles of Innovation, Inquiry, and Inclusion.

In contemplating a new organizational model, ACAPT’s Board sought a cohesive approach that reduces redundancies and nurtures more meaningful collaboration with a special focus on delivering outcomes for the benefit of the entire academic PT community.  We wanted to make sure any reorganizing of ACAPT would facilitate more efficiency, setting the stage for a more sustainable organization to serve ACAPT members long term.

As part of this process, the Board, in consultation with members and leaders, sought an organizational structure that would allow ACAPT to better support its members and the academic community by:

  • Generating needed outcomes and deliverables
  • Establishing a more efficient governance model
  • Providing responsible stewardship
  • Ensuring strategic investment of resources in programs that deliver on member needs, and
  • Creating a responsive environment to address developing issues.

Under this reorganized structure, ACAPT will be sun setting the nine existing consortia but will collaborate with them to ensure the new structure builds on their existing work to streamline and expand opportunities for networking, service, and leadership. Transitioning the work from our current consortia to the four Institutes allows for integration of work across previously siloed areas and opens new and exciting opportunities for innovation. All Institutes and the Center for Excellence will be supported by committees, the National Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Commission as well as a Clinical Education Commission that is in development. In addition, because the task forces under each institute will change frequently, there will be more opportunity for short-term service. Task forces will have unique charges that will require a wide variety of expertise and skills sets.

Once the work of a task force has been completed, there will be new responsibilities to ensure that what was created (guidelines, tools, best practices, educational programming, etc.), is implemented and evaluated for its relevance every few years.  Thus, the work doesn’t end when the task force is done.

Below represents the new restructuring:

ACAPT Structure overview

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.

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