Date of Award



© 2019 Mary Ellen Vore

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dorothy Williams

Second Advisor

Andrea Disque

Third Advisor

Lynn Rivers


The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) has elevated the accreditation standards for physical therapy (PT) faculty and program directors. These increased standards along with the proliferation of new physical therapy education programs and retirements of current program directors has created a nationwide program director shortage. The purpose of this quantitative descriptive study identified factors that influence PT faculty in pursuing the position of program director as well as their perceptions of the responsibilities of program director. Qualified PT faculty (n=51) from accredited physical therapy education programs in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions of the United States completed an on-line survey. The survey consisted of Likert scale questions asking the likelihood respondents would apply for a program director position based on job responsibilities identified by CAPTE. The respondents were also asked to rank the program director responsibilities from most to least essential. Frequencies, t-test and Fisher’s exact test were completed to analyze the data. Respondents rated ‘facilitate change’, ‘represent the department at college/university-level meetings’ and ‘oversee the curriculum content, design and evaluation’ as factors that would influence their likelihood to apply for a program director position. Respondents’ ranking of program director responsibilities identified ‘maintain accreditation’ as the most essential responsibility followed by ‘faculty advocate to higher administration’ and ‘develop strategic plans’. In contrast, respondents rated ‘maintain accreditation’ as a factor to unlikely apply for a program director position. Results indicated females (p=0.01) were more likely to consider applying for a program director position than males and there was an association between gender and ‘maintain program accreditation’ (p=0.04) and ‘develop strategic plans’ (p=0.02). Findings from this study may be beneficial for current program directors and higher education administrators when recruiting for physical therapy program directors as well as determining succession of current program directors. The implementation of professional development plans could include informal and formal support of program director responsibilities that influenced PT faculty to pursue a program director position as well as addressing barriers to applying for the position.


Ed.D. Dissertation