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ACAPT board statement regarding motion for minimum duration of 108 weeks for professional DPT education programs

Nov 16, 2020

At the 2020 ACAPT Annual Business Meeting on October 16, Motion AC-1-20 was brought forward to the institutional representatives and passed with a majority vote of 116 votes to approve, 88 in opposition, and 5 abstentions. The approved motion reads:

"The professional education program leading to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree shall consist of a minimum of 108 weeks of instruction, which (according to CAPTE’s definition) includes all weeks that students participate in class/laboratory/distance learning/independent study, exam weeks, and clinical education."

The ACAPT Board’s responsibility is to enact the decisions of the membership and, as such, will adopt this position statement given the majority vote. Since the passage of this motion, the Board has heard concerns from multiple programs. Chief among their concerns was the lack of data-driven evidence to support or refute the motion. The Board is concerned that 43% of institutional representatives voted in opposition to this motion.

As we all know, ACAPT continues to mature in realizing its aspiration of becoming “the voice” for physical therapist education. In this context, this is the first motion the membership has passed to date with such a divided vote. For those present during the open forums and business meeting where this motion was discussed, you may recall several valid points were raised both in favor and against the minimum duration concept. While we will not restate those arguments here, the Board feels strongly that the topic of minimum duration of a professional DPT education program deserves ongoing robust and rigorous discussion and study.

To this end, ACAPT currently has a taskforce working to gather information regarding the availability of data being captured by ACAPT, the Academy of Education (formerly APTE), and APTA components. In addition, this group is also investigating ways to store and make available such data for members to use to support their ongoing assessment needs. With this project, the committee is also working to identify significant gaps in necessary decision-making data specifically focused on measuring academic excellence. This is but one example of the type of action we believe we should continue as a follow-up to the passage of AC-1.

Please know that, as an organization, we remain committed to support physical therapy academia and its goal of striving toward excellence in physical therapist education. We appreciate the dedication of our members and respectfully serve to support their growth and development. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your board liaison should you have any issues or concerns.

ACAPT Board of Directors

Mark Reinking President, ACAPT, Regis University
Michael Sheldon Vice President, ACAPT, University of New England
Emmanuel John Secretary, ACAPT, Chapman University
Julia Chevan Treasurer, ACAPT, Springfield College
Peter Altenburger Director, ACAPT, Indiana University
Marie Johanson Director, ACAPT, Emory University
John Buford Director, ACAPT, The Ohio State University
Scott Davis Director, ACAPT, Marshall University
Mary Dockter Director, ACAPT, University of Mary

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