Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Childress, Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Bobbi Nicholson

Third Advisor

Dr. Corrie Mancinelli


Leadership is an emerging field in physical therapy professional research. Research efforts have concentrated on identifying the most desirable leadership skills and behaviors for practicing physical therapists, or on curricular interventions implemented in specific educational programs. This study utilized a qualitative phenomenological design to investigate the perspectives of 21 current and former student leaders from Marshall University School of Physical Therapy, specifically investigating the scope and effectiveness of available opportunities in developing leadership skills and behaviors. Participants were also probed regarding their motivation for pursuing pre-professional leadership development opportunities. Findings from this study suggest the available opportunities are effective to engage an increasing number of students in leadership development. Advanced career preparation is the primary motivating factor for participating in these activities. The study also investigated the extent to which the Leadership Competencies Framework for Physical Therapy provided a framework for integrating leadership development into Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) pre-professional educational programs. Study findings indicated the Self-Leadership and Leading Others tiers of the framework were initially validated for limited use of the framework within DPT education.


Physical therapy – Study and teaching.

Physical therapy – Education.

Leadership – Study and teaching.

Marshall University.