Program Philosophy


The UTEP Doctor of 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.

Second, we believe that the development of self-regulated learners is at the foundation of producing graduates 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 focus on critical thinking, evidence acquisition and critique, and self-reflection across the curriculum.

Third, we believe that the program has a duty to be engaged in the community, and that community engagement is a powerful teaching strategy.

Finally, we believe that we must be agents of change and must mold our students into agents of change for the good of our community and our profession.

Statement of Educational Principles

A 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 elicited1 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 critical thinking, evidence acquisition and critique, and self-reflection reflects this principle.

1. Nilson LB. Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors. San Francisco, CA:Jossey-Bass, 2010. 

Statement of Values

We are committed to the American Physical Therapy Association’s Vision 2030 and its guiding principles (identity, quality, collaboration, value, innovation, consumer-centricity, access/equity, and advocacy) and to our core professional values (accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility).

We are dedicated 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.

We value diversity, and take pride in increasing the representation of the 21st century demographic in the physical therapy profession.