Innovations in OT and PT Education Summit

Document Type

Conference Proceeding




Background/Purpose: Institutional pressure for expanded revenue streams, coupled with workforce development needs to insure patient access of health resources both drive programmatic expansion of healthcare education programs across multiple campus sites. Such expansion is predicated on deliberate planning and resource acquisition for effective course delivery and successful programmatic outcomes. The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Allied Health Professions opened a second campus site in 2016, located 185 miles from the main campus and the urban corridor of the state. The Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program (and four additional allied health professions) modified traditional course delivery to create a synchronous learning environment, with core and adjunct faculty members actively engaged on both campuses. This administrative case report describes areas of critical consideration for faculty and administrators when expanding DPT programs across multiple sites. Strategies associated with successful implementation are addressed.

Case Description. The process of program expansion and implementation are outlined, including challenges, subsequent actions, and successful strategies. Critical elements of program planning and implementation are categorized in the context of: Essential Infrastructure, Essential Functions, and identification of Essential Outcomes to provide evidence that the distance-based curriculum effectively addresses student learning needs.

Outcomes: Key considerations related to “essential infrastructure: include resources such as: Administrative/leadership support; community engagement and relationships; qualified personnel; space; equipment; and basic technology (including deployment of a “STAT” team of student technology assistants). “Essential functions” include: Changes associated with the admission process and messaging; curriculum modifications; instructional design assistance; reformulated interprofessional education and practice experiences; faculty development and scholarship, and the serious need to empanel a bi-campus faculty “response team” for vigilance in pragmatic detail and parity of learning experiences. “Essential Outcomes” address the critical focus of protecting a singular program concept from shifting to an asynchronous, satellite format, as well as describing assessment strategies at various levels within the institution.

Discussion: The ability to maintain quality brand reputation during multi-campus expansion of a DPT program requires the leverage of resources and talent from multiple and varied stakeholders. This administrative case report describes essential factors that must be deliberately addressed by campus administrators and faculty for successful implementation and outcomes.