BOWLING GREEN, KY (4/30/12) – The Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Western Kentucky University continues toward a June 2013 opening after recently receiving state approval.
The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education approved WKU’s third practice-based doctorate in April, clearing the way for the next step in the certification process.
Director Harvey Wallmann said he is expecting to hear soon from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, WKU’s main accrediting organization, keeping the program on track for review by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). That application will be submitted in December.
Dr. Wallmann said WKU must have candidacy status from CAPTE before it can start accepting students in the first class. Once the report is submitted, he said CAPTE will conduct a site visit in February and issue its findings in April.
That would clear the way for classes to begin in June 2013, he said.
In the meantime, the faculty is keeping busy with research, developing and teaching undergraduate courses and looking for ways to strengthen the DPT program. “We’re going to hit the ground running,” he said.
He is particularly excited by the addition of two faculty members, Dr. Don Hoover and Dr. Beth Norris. Both have been tenured faculty members with records of research and public service, he said.
Dr. Hoover, who will start this fall, has a PhD in exercise science as well as physical therapy from the University of Kansas and is a certified specialist in strength and conditioning. He has 12 years of experience teaching in physical therapy programs and has experience in administrative oversight of curricular issues, assessment activities and faculty development within a program, as well as assisting in the oversight of operating budgets.
Dr. Norris will join the faculty in fall 2013. She has a PhD in movement science from Seton Hall and her physical therapy degree from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Sciences. She has seven years of teaching experience in DPT programs in the fields of orthopedic physical therapy, therapeutic interventions, evidence-based practice, and anatomy lab and is actively involved in research.
Dr. Wallmann said the program is also adding new sites for clinical rotations. WKU’s program requires 118 credits and 36 weeks of clinical education rotation. CAPTE requires a minimum of 38 sites initially based on the incoming class of 30 students and to date WKU has identified almost 70.
Interest in WKU’s program remains high, even with the delayed start, he said. There were more than 100 applicants for 30 slots for fall 2012, of which nearly 70 were interviewed. Of those, 56 have opted to stay in the pool for summer 2013 and will be added to those who apply by the Jan. 15 deadline.
“We’re pretty excited. I want to get this program running,” Dr. Wallmann said. “That’s the fun part, bringing the students in and starting to educate.”
Information provided by WKU
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