Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Roth, Gene L.||Jeris, Laurel

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Physical therapy schools; Health services administration--Study and teaching; Physical therapy--Study and teaching


Academic coordinators/directors of clinical education (ACCEs/DCEs) are academic physical therapists who coordinate clinical education programs. Because of frequent turnover, ACCEs/DCEs are often the least experienced faculty members within a department. Loss of an ACCE/DCE jeopardizes the relationship between academic and clinical facilities and may contribute to the nationwide shortage of physical therapy faculty. This study examines the professional development of ACCEs/DCEs. The research questions asked, (1) What drives some ACCEs/DCEs to remain in the position and become successful? (2) What professional development experiences can successful ACCEs/DCEs describe as critical to their longevity in the position? (3) How have colleagues and mentors contributed to the professional development of successful ACCEs/DCEs? Six ACCEs/DCEs participated in the study. They had served from 5 to 17 years, been active in professional organizations, met the teaching requirements of their institutions, and completed scholarly activity. Individual case studies were written, using data gathered through interviews and review of participants' curriculum vitae and publications. The case studies were analyzed using constant comparative methods to determine themes in each participant's professional development. Cross-case analysis resulted in a model for ACCE/DCE professional development with six major themes. Participants became ACCEs/DCEs because they were able to respond positively to unexpected events. They persisted because their responsibilities matched their interests and skills and because they were excited about facilitating learning and development in students and clinical instructors. Unexpectedly, participants demonstrated characteristics of mindful practice, including courage, critical curiosity, and the abilities to reflect critically and to make accurate observations. Participants had created networks of colleagues who provided assistance and support and introduced them to research and service opportunities. Supportive work environments positively influenced participants' professional development. Results of this study confirm that successful professionals use the mistakes and achievements of practice to facilitate their professional development. Results emphasize the importance of choosing ACCEs/DCEs who enjoy facilitating learning in students and clinicians. Networking with colleagues was a key learning method for participants because of their unique role in academia. Further research can explore mindful practice among ACCEs/DCEs and their practical knowledge.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 169-194).


280 pages




Northern Illinois University

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