The UTEP Physical Therapy Program philosophy is centered around four themes. First, we believe that a strong and reciprocal student-faculty relationship is the foundation of a successful learning environment. Both students and faculty have the responsibility and power to contribute to teaching and active learning. Through close mentoring of our students, we build trust and guide them to meet our high expectations.
Second, we seek to facilitate the development of self-driven learners who will be dedicated to lifelong learning. We recognize that our most important charge is not to merely deliver information but to teach our students how to learn. We increasingly focus on analytical thinking, evidence acquisition and critique, and self-reflection as the curriculum progresses.
Third, we are committed to incorporating the pillars of the American Physical Therapy Association's Vision 2020 and the core professional values throughout our curriculum, and to developing professional behaviors that reflect these. Modeling these actions, we collectively participate in research and service activities at the local, state, national, and international levels. To elicit similar behaviors in the students, we incorporate community and professional engagement activities into courses, and encourage related extracurricular participation.
Finally, we are dedicated to positively impacting our students, our profession, and our El Paso region through our teaching. Committed to achieving the difficult balance between educational access and program excellence, we ultimately believe that our students will rise to our expectations. We strive to be agents of change and to mold our students into agents of change for the good of our profession and our community. We take pride in sharing this educational adventure with our students for the greater benefit of our profession and the El Paso region.
Our philosophy and its themes are grounded in current education principles, and the values of our profession and our university. These are stated in the following sections.
Statement of Educational Principles
- A student-centered and student-active environment is the most effective learning environment.1 Our commitment to strong student-faculty relationships is directly connected to this principle, as are our efforts to actively engage students in their learning.
- Students learn best when they are motivated to learn, and it is relevant to them.1 Therefore we work hard to inspire our students, to explicitly make connections between didactic material and the clinic, and to involve them early with community based learning opportunities.
- Students learn most effectively when they receive the material multiple times, in many ways, and when strong emotional reactions are elicited.1 Thus we are dedicated to creating a spiraling curriculum that is interspersed with a wide range of learning activities including experiential learning.
- Students who practice self-reflection and utilize metacognition are more likely to become reflective practitioners and lifelong learners.1 Thus we promote early and frequent self-reflection.
- The most important role of faculty is not to deliver content, but to teach students how to learn.1 Our commitment to teaching analytical thinking, evidence acquisition and critique, and self-reflection reflects this principle.
Statement of Values
- As faculty of physical therapy, we are committed to the pillars of our profession: autonomous practice, evidence-based practice, doctor of physical therapy/lifelong learning, practitioner of choice, preparation for direct access, and professionalism. These are the pillars of our program, and the foundation of our curriculum.
- As an extension of the pillar of professionalism, we are dedicated to the stated core professional values: accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility. In addition to the pillars, the students are introduced to the core values from the first semester and explicitly reminded of them throughout the curriculum.
- As faculty of the University of Texas at El Paso, we are devoted to our university's values of educational access and program excellence. Embracing our mission to serve our under-resourced community, we strive to offer an outstanding doctoral education for the benefit of our region.
1. Nilson LB. Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass, 2010.