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Abstract

Background: Institutions of higher education suffer from a shortage of appropriately prepared faculty members in athletic training and physical therapy programs. Both professional programs have recently undergone curricular reform and degree change. We sought gain an understanding of the preparation mechanisms experienced by athletic training and physical therapy practitioners for their junior faculty positions. Method: Twenty-six athletic trainers and physical therapists participated in this phenomenological study. Data from one-on-one phone interviews were analyzed following the inductive process of interpretive phenomenological analysis. Content experts, pilot interviews, multiple analysts and member checking ensured trustworthiness. Results: Findings indicate two primary mechanisms prepared the practitioners to become junior faculty members: doctoral degree programs and clinical practice. Doctoral degree programs did not provide experiences for all future faculty roles. Hands-on patient care practice provided participants the context for their teaching and confidence in knowledge aptitude. Conclusion: Doctoral institutions should provide a variety of hands on active learning experiences to doctoral students. Future faculty members can maximize the amount of time they provide clinical care to patients, following the attainment of their professional credential. Clinical competence and proficiency will serve as the foundational basis for their future teaching endeavors and may increase credibility and respect.

Author Bio(s)

Jessica L. Barrett, PhD, ATC is an Assistant Professor of Athletic Training in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies at Springfield College in Springfield, MA.

Stephanie M. Singe, PhD, ATC, FNATA is an Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.

Aynsley Diamond, Ed.D is the Director of Faculty Development Programs at the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT.

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