Community Perceptions of Service Learning within a Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program
KeywordsScholarship of Teaching and Learning
Doctorate of Physical Therapy
Curriculum and Instruction
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
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AbstractService learning (SL) within a Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT) curriculum is defined as academic work completed outside the classroom setting intended to provide community outreach and enhance student learning. SL has the intent to enrich both the provider (student) and the recipient (community partner). The question this study raises is “ If the community partners do not value the students' efforts, are the goals of a SL course really met?” Therefore the purpose was to investigate the community partners' perceptions of the students' SL experience. Common themes were discovered: Mutual learning occurs, valuable health benefits are gained, SL helps students' career preparation, an increased awareness of community needs is gained by the student and university, and the benefits outweighed the burden of any additional work. The findings could be beneficial to other disciplines through the common themes identified and the common attributes of the community sites.