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Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Elon reaccredited, commended

The affirmation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education comes with a "clean report" and a commendation for the program's self-study report. 

Elon University's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program has been reaccredited after an extensive review process that confirmed the program's adherence to high standards of education and performance. 

A student in Elon's Doctor of Physical Therapy program works with a patient in the program's pro bono HOPE Clinic. (Kim Walker/Elon University)

The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) of the American Physical Therapy Association this summer voted to reaffirm accreditation for the program, with that seal of approval to extend for the next 10 years. 

"The accreditation process is a very important part of physical therapy education," said Stephen Folger, program director and professor of physical therapy education at Elon. "Accreditation establishes that your program is meeting the requirements set out by the profession."

Elon launched its Master of Physical Therapy program in 1998 and moved to a Doctor of Physical Therapy program in 2003, with its last accreditation coming in 2006. Since then, the three-year program has moved into the Gerald L. Francis Center, which is home to Elon's School of Health Sciences, and currently has three cohorts with a total of 141 students being educated by a team of 14 full-time core faculty members and four lead adjunct instructors.   

"Reaccreditation by CAPTE is yet another validation that Elon's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program provides the highest-quality education," said Steven House, provost of Elon University. "The faculty are outstanding teacher-scholar-mentors who create on extraordinary learning environment that transforms students into committed and caring professionals who are ready to serve others."

Along with the reaccreditation, the program was commended for its Self-study Report, a part of the accrediting process through which an institution outlines its policies, goals and resources and demonstrates how it's performing against those measures. In the commendation, reviewers noted that the program offered "a well-written, thorough, concise and comprehensive Self-study Report, which clearly conveyed the nature and scope of the educational experience.” The extensive self-study report took more than 18 months to complete, Folger said. 

"The commendation for the Self-study Report was an extra special surprise for us," Folger said. "It was a tremendous team effort from beginning to end."

Elon's program is known for its strong personnel and robust curriculum, Folger said. Components such as its modular curriculum and growing Global Learning Opportunity Programalong with opportunities like the Health Outreach Program of Elon Clinic, a student-driven, student-run pro bono physical therapy clinic, help set it apart, he said. 

The H.O.P.E. Clinic offers students the opportunity to put into practice what they're learning while offering a needed service to the surrounding community. From April through June of this year, students provided care during 85 clinic visits for patients referred to the clinic by a wide range of providers throughout the region. 

"This reaccreditation and self-study report is a snapshot in time, and we look forward to growing and evolving and improving going forward," Folger said. 

The program expects to graduate 49 students at the end of the year and then welcome a new class of 46 students in January. 

Graduates of Elon's program have seen outstanding success in recent years, with 100 percent of those who graduated between 2012 and 2014 passing the National Physical Therapy Examination, the most recent three-year passage rates available. Within those same cohorts, 99 percent were employed within six months of passing the licensure examination.

Owen Covington,
Staff
8/24/2016 1:45 PM