WKU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program receives initial accreditation

WKU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program has received initial five-year accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

“Obtaining accreditation is a momentous event in the development of the DPT program,” said Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of WKU’s College of Health and Human Services. “This accreditation underscores the rigor of the curriculum and the stellar credentials of the DPT faculty. This further provides nationwide credibility and will extend our reach of applicants for future cohorts around the United States.”

Accreditation is the latest milestone for the DPT program, which graduated its inaugural class earlier this month.

“We are pleased to announce that the DPT program has received official word that it has been granted initial accreditation status,” said Dr. Harvey Wallmann, program director. “Accreditation has been the culmination of several years of hard work on the part of the faculty, staff, students and all the stakeholders and we’d like to thank everyone for helping us make this happen.”

After receiving legislative approval in 2011, WKU’s third practice-based doctoral degree was approved by the Board of Regents in January 2012 and by the Council on Postsecondary Education in April 2012. The program received Candidate for Accreditation status from the CAPTE in April 2013 and started the inaugural class in June 2013. Physical therapy programs are not eligible for initial accreditation until the final semester of the program has been completed prior to graduation. CAPTE meets twice a year (spring and fall) to review programs.

“One of the reasons we hired Dr. Wallmann was his expertise to ensure that accreditation would be forthcoming,” said Tom Pennington, a local businessman and physical therapist who led the efforts to develop the program at WKU. “We are very proud of Dr. Wallmann and the staff.”

A physical therapy education program must be accredited to allow graduates to sit for the licensure exam, which is required in all states.

“We are absolutely delighted for our first class and for all 90 students who put their trust in a program that was not yet accredited and put their faith in WKU that this would be a positive result,” Pennington said. “We are happy for the students and for their families.”

About CAPTE: The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education is the only accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation to accredit entry-level physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs; has been recognized as an independent agency since 1977 and has been the only recognized agency to accredit physical therapy programs since 1983; accredits over 200 physical therapist education programs and over 250 physical therapist assistant education programs in the U.S. and three physical therapist education programs in other countries (Canada and Scotland); has 29 members from a variety of constituencies; maintains a cadre of more than 250 volunteers who are trained to conduct on-site reviews of physical therapy programs; conducts on-site visits to approximately 70 programs annually; reviews information from approximately one-third of all accredited programs at each meeting; is an active member of the Association of Specialized and Programmatic Accreditors (ASPA) and subscribes to the ASPA Code of Good Practice.

Contact: Doctor of Physical Therapy program, (270) 745-4071.

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Posted with permission from WKU News