Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Robert O. Brinkerhoff

Second Advisor

Dr. David Cowden

Third Advisor

Dr. Robert Betz


In physical therapist educational programs the faculty member responsible for the clinical education portion of the curriculum is the Academic Coordinator of Clinical Education (ACCE). The factors that attract individuals to the career of ACCE and that influence them either to leave or remain in the position are of interest and concern to those planning for the future of the profession. The purpose of this study is to gather information about the career of the ACCE. The study was designed to determine the: (a) Personal characteristics and occupational status of ACCEs, (b) preparations made for the career of ACCE, (c) major attractions to become ACCE, (d) most and least attractive features of the ACCE position, (e) effect of age and family responsibilities, (f) future career plans of ACCEs, and (g) influences to leave the ACCE position and occupations after leaving.

The study population consisted of the current ACCEs from all American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) accredited programs offering entry-level education for physical therapists, and of former ACCEs who held the position during the past 10 years. through two investigator-developed interviews. One hundred and seven Data were collected questionnaires and (91%) ACCE Questionnaires, and 63 (73%) Former ACCE Questionnaires were returned. Interviews and conversations were held with current ACCEs, former ACCEs, and with many other individuals involved in physical therapy education.

Quantitative and narrative responses were coded and entered into the computer for descriptive analysis. Findings included that current ACCEs held appointments at the instructor or assistant professor level, and only 16% were tenured. Sixty-two percent of the ACCEs first considered the position when it was offered, or when they wanted a job change.

The finding that half of the ACCEs are either very new, or are planning to leave is a cause of concern to the profession and reflects the instability of the ACCEs and potentially of the programs. Major issues that must be addressed are the availability of good secretarial and administrative support, the socialization of physical therapy faculty to academia, and the opportunity for the ACCE to be a respected full member of the academic community. A model of career development for the ACCE was proposed.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access