Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Dennis Anderson, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Bethel

Third Advisor

Dr. D. Scott Davis


The physical therapy profession has recently placed greater significance on leadership education and research at all levels of professional development. Excellence and innovation in physical therapy practice must address leadership development beginning in professional education. This call for reform has been adopted broadly, including from an accreditation standpoint. The challenge now becomes to determine the most effective ways for preparing student physical therapists to lead in today’s fluid healthcare environment. This study examined leadership content among U.S. CAPTE accredited physical therapist education programs and, specifically, the instructional strategies and assessment methods frequently used to develop emerging leaders. An online survey was sent to all program directors of fully accredited programs that operate in a primarily in-person, traditional learning format. The sample consisted of 38 programs distributed among all CAPTE geographical regions. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze the data. The results suggest that group projects, business plan development, service learning, and class or small group discussion are the primary instructional strategies used in physical therapist education leadership development. The most frequently used assessment strategies include group projects/presentations, portfolios, individual leadership development plans and term papers. Physical therapist educators use discussion, analysis, and experiential teaching methods to grow leadership capacity. This sample tended to more frequently use discussion-based strategies and emphasize team-learning activities. Assessment strategies often used by participating programs were primarily reflective of self-leadership competency. These findings provide additional evidence for how leadership content can be incorporated into physical therapist education and may serve as a guide for curricular design.


Educational leadership – West Virginia.

Marshall University.

Curriculum-based assessment – West Virginia.

Physical therapy – Study and teaching – West Virginia.