Doctor of Physical Therapy

Doctor of Physical Therapy

The University of Evansville offers an entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. This six- or seven-year curriculum involves three or four years of prerequisite and undergraduate course work followed by three years of professional study. The DPT curriculum enhances the graduate's ability to work in a complex and challenging health care environment. Through the careful integration of the liberal arts, a meaningful undergraduate degree and professional studies, students acquire the necessary technical and critical thinking skills to promote optimal human health and patient function.

Program Overview

Program Chair: Frank Underwood, PT, PhD, ECS

Director of Clinical Education: Janet Szczepanski, PT, MHS, GCS

Operations Administrator/Director of Admission and Advising: Sherri Chambliss

Institutional Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Date of Initial Accreditation of Physical Therapy Program: Bachelor's degree: May 1981 (this degree is no longer offered) Master's degree: October 1991; the Master's program transitioned to the Doctor of Physical Therapy program in May 2006.

Current Accreditation Status: The Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Evansville is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314; telephone: 703-706-3245; e-mail: accreditation@apta.org; website: http://www.capteonline.org. Next visit: July 2014

Degree Conferred: Doctor of Physical Therapy

Mission Of The Physical Therapy Program

The mission of the University of Evansville Physical Therapy Program is to provide doctoral level education to prepare students for autonomous and ethical physical therapy practice.

Philosophy of the Physical Therapy Program

The curriculum promotes the values of the University and the core values of the American Physical Therapy Association. The program emphasizes contemporary didactic and clinical practice experiences that model and reinforce professional excellence. These experiences expose students to the diverse and culturally sensitive nature of health care. In order to prepare graduates to be effective practitioners who are committed to lifelong learning, the curriculum stresses the importance of making practice decisions based on current best evidence.

The educational process is guided by physical therapy faculty members who emphasize a student-centered learning approach to enhance student success. Faculty members are committed to excellence in teaching and engage in professional writing, research, and other scholarly activities that contribute to the knowledge base of rehabilitation science.

Education

Undergraduate education, didactic professional education, and clinical education are the three critical components that prepare students to engage in the contemporary practice of physical therapy. The experiences inherent in these three elements are mutually supportive, with each component enriching and reinforcing the others. In accordance with the University mission, the professional phase of physical therapy education seeks to assist students in the realization of their full potential. The core values of the profession are presented in the first course within the professional phase. These values are reinforced and nurtured throughout the curriculum through didactic, clinical and service learning experiences.

The professional curriculum includes both didactic and clinical components. The didactic component (including classroom, laboratory, and self-directed activities) ensures that students have the necessary knowledge base to competently and compassionately care for patients/clients. Skills acquired during completion of prerequisites are reinforced and further developed, including self-directed learning, critical thinking, and reflective inquiry.

Clinical education experiences provide students opportunities to apply and refine acquired didactic knowledge, psychomotor skills and professional behaviors to assess and treat patients/clients in a supervised environment. Exposure to diverse patient populations and settings allows students to assimilate concepts related to human anatomy, physiology, behavior, perceptions, and culture. The value of clinical education in facilitating the process of professional maturation, skills refinement and critical thinking is beyond measure. Clinical courses allow students opportunities and experiences that cannot be replicated in the classroom setting.

A key focus of all elements within professional education is interaction among students, between students and faculty, and among students, faculty and the external community. For interaction to be an effective educational tool, foundational skills in communication must be in place. Undergraduate coursework prepares students to optimally engage in and benefit from the interactive and collaborative experiences available during the professional phase of physical therapy education. Faculty members partner with students to achieve the goals of individual students, the program, and the profession.

Goals of the Physical Therapy Program

  1. Provide an accredited educational program in physical therapy that enables all students to become licensed practitioners
  2. Function as an essential constituent of the University
  3. Provide an educational environment for students that promotes learning, a spirit of inquiry and cultural sensitivity
  4. Provide a stimulating occupational setting for faculty by promoting continuous professional development and scholarly activity
  5. Encourage active participation of faculty in consultation and clinical practice
  6. Encourage professional excellence through active participation of students and faculty in community service

Expected Student Outcomes At Program Completion

Graduates of the program will be professionals who:

  • are competent entry-level practitioners.
  • practice self-assessment.
  • apply principles of evidence based practice.
  • practice in an ethical manner.
  • practice in a culturally competent manner.
  • are committed to lifelong learning.
  • participate in professional organizations.
  • participate in community service.
  • are advocates for their patients.
  • are advocates for their profession.