School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Vance Pickard


leadership, physical therapy, education, curriculum, development


Education | Educational Leadership


Physical therapists must demonstrate leadership skills to provide quality patient care and to facilitate healthcare reform. The purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to understand core physical therapy faculty’s implementation of leadership development curriculum in entry-level physical therapy programs at graduate colleges and universities. The theory guiding this study was transformational leadership theory, proposed by Burns (1978), as it informs leadership skills and attributes, which may cultivate the change necessary for health care reform. The central research question for this study explores how physical therapy faculty incorporate leadership development into their graduate physical therapy programs to prepare students for transformational leadership. Sub-research questions explore faculty perception of leadership characteristics, behaviors, and skills, instructional methods, and assessment methods implemented by physical therapy faculty. A collective case study design study was used to collect data from three graduate physical therapy programs at participating institutional sites. Participants included core physical therapy faculty. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with participants, focus groups, and document analysis. Documents analyzed included syllabi, lectures and assignments, and any surveys or instruments discussed during interviews and focus groups. The data was analyzed through a holistic within-case analysis. The data was patterned and collated to identify primary themes. These themes were analyzed through cross-case analysis. The established themes were used to propose assertions related to faculty perception and implementation of leadership development curriculum in graduate physical therapy programs.