Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Marie Cianca


This study examined leadership knowledge and skills development in accredited physical therapist programs. Data were triangulated across program director and faculty member interviews, course descriptions and student learning outcomes. The use of the FINHOP framework by Schafer et al. (2007) facilitated an analysis of the data and a delineation of knowledge development versus skills acquisition. Additionally, programs with and without pro bono clinics were compared. This multiple case study examined four purposively recruited physical therapy programs. Four themes and related subthemes were identified through data analysis and included: (a) inconsistent definition of leadership; (b) leading leaders with subthemes professional socialization, networking, and pedagogy of integrated leadership; (c) business savvy with one subtheme of resource management; and (d) never enough time. Programs demonstrated consistency in evaluation of graduates’ acquisition of leadership knowledge, but lacked measurement of graduates’ application of leadership skills. The comparison between programs with and without pro bono clinics identified a weak link between pro bono clinical experiences and graduates’ leadership knowledge and skills development. The voluntary status of student and faculty participation within the pro bono clinics in combination with a lack of measurable student learning outcomes limited linking leadership knowledge and skills development to pro bono clinic participation. Recommendations for future research included: programs’ use of a consistent definition of leadership threaded across the curriculum, graduates self-assessment of leadership knowledge and skills development, and programs’ use of student learning outcomes to link pro bono clinic participation to leadership knowledge and skills development.

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