Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Leadership (Ed.D.)

Type of Paper/Work



Bruce H. Kramer, Ph.D.; Donald R. LaMagdeleine, Ph.D.; Susan J. Huber, Ed.D.


The majority of the literature related to physical therapist education tends to focus on factors related to stress, student satisfaction with faculty, and socialization into the role of the physical therapist. A few studies have looked at value fit between educational programs and their parent institutions and parent institutions and the work environment. This case study examined the experiences of a physical therapy program within its institutional and professional contexts through the lens of myth, ritual, and classification. The use of qualitative research provided a means to explain the society that is the physical therapy program and the affect this has on students’ lived experiences at a small private liberal arts college. The data included interviews with faculty, administrators, and students, document review, and personal reflection. The use of Goffman’s Total Institution model was useful in framing the data and as a means to further understand the nature of physical therapist education. The research illustrated how the use of theory related to modes of discourse can be instructive in understanding the dynamics of social interaction, both from an interpersonal perspective and an institutional perspective. Insights into physical therapy student socialization based on myth, ritual, and classification identified factors that led to student disenfranchisement from the parent institution while strengthening affinity to the physical therapy program. The use of discourse theory provided insights into the dynamics that can allow a long standing anomaly to continue. Perspectives gained from this study can be utilized by other organizations to reinforce practices that enhance the mission of the organization, a particular program, and the educational experiences of the students. General implications related to leadership are summarized.


Stress, Student Satisfaction with Faculty, Socialization into the Role of the Physical Therapist

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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