Message from Director of Clinical Education

Welcome Physical Therapy Clinical Education Partners! We hope you find the information on this page of our DPT Program website a helpful resource for you and your staff who serve as valued clinical faculty for our program and students. Here you will find information on our Clinical Education curriculum and model; meet our Regional Clinical Coordinators, ancillary clinical education team members, and our Clinical Education Advisory Panel; have access to our Clinical Education Policy and Procedure; find resources for clinical faculty and clinical faculty development; and be able to access frequently used web links for clinical education. 

Under development are links to recorded in-services related to clinical education and clinical practice – with plans for availability over the next year. Periodically throughout the year we will be introducing an electronic newsletter starting spring of 2019 – these will be emailed directly to the Site Coordinator of Clinical Education on record for dissemination to agency clinical instructors. We will also archive these on this webpage.  We hope that you find these resources beneficial.  

About our clinical education model:

The clinical education curriculum at CMU consists of five courses – two of which are semester length on-campus "Mock Clinics" where students prepare for off-campus clinical experiences through participation in case simulations designed to integrate knowledge and skills from a wide range of academic courses and advance clinical reasoning processes. The three remaining courses are full-time clinical experiences. PTH 634 Clinical Education II is a six-week rotation that occurs in the summer (semester four) after the students have completed a year of preparatory coursework. PTH 832 Clinical Education IV and PTH 932 Clinical Education V are two-semester length (14 week) experiences occurring during the final year of the program (Fall – semester eight; Winter/Spring – semester nine). Figuratively, the five-course clinical education curriculum looks as follows:

Clinical Education within the 3-year DPT curriculum:

Clinical Ed within 3-yr DPT Curriculum

Our experience with the longer final clinical experiences and the clinical year has been positive – students and clinical faculty report that student physical therapists are integral members of the clinical community by the time they conclude their experiences and they have had many learning opportunities and responsibilities beyond direct patient care. They truly are ready to "hit the ground running" as they graduate.

One very unique feature of our model is that we have four individuals in addition to myself who serve as Regional Clinical Coordinators (RCCs) throughout Michigan. Our RCCs serve the following regions in Michigan: Upper Peninsula, East-Central, Northern Lower Peninsula, Southeast, Southwest. Each RCC is locally based and familiar with their area and can be readily available for clinical site and faculty development and assistance. They are also responsible for monitoring and mentoring of our students during the final clinical year as they meet with students in regional peer-mentoring groups monthly during these final clinical experiences in addition to meeting individually with students and CIs as for mid-term site visits. The RCC model has been our method for maintaining frequent contact with students and clinical faculty during the formative clinical year and for becoming partners with CIs and students in this important professional transition. You can meet our RCCs here: 

DPT Regional Coordinators.jpg

In addition to our Regional Clinical Coordinators, we are supported by Mary Smith, Senior Office Specialist, and Carolyn Cardon, MBA, CHP Clinical Compliance Coordinator. Mary provides administrative support for all aspects of the clinical education curriculum including for the Clinical Performance Instrument and Exxat clinical education software systems. Carolyn assists in coordination of affiliation agreements, standard affiliation requirements of students including background checks and drug screening, and on-boarding for students to ensure that we are in compliance with accreditation and agreements. 

Central Michigan University's Doctor of Physical Therapy Program offers students another unique opportunity. Central Michigan University has collaborated with Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Michigan to offer the Central Michigan University Doctorate in Physical Therapy degree on their campus. The program is offered through interactive distance-learning technologies that connect the students on both campuses simultaneously live. The inaugural cohort began in May of 2014. Students from both campuses have the same identical opportunities for clinical experiences – so there is no difference in how they are placed, their clinical education experiences, or where they are in the progression of the program. 

We continue to enjoy the wonderful diversity our clinical education partners bring to our students, the quality of instruction, and look forward to continued engagement with each of you!



Karen E.H. Grossnickle, PT, DHSc.
Director of Clinical Education
Assistant Professor