Purpose: The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) defines expected professional behaviors beyond legal and ethical expectations in the Core Values document. Civic mindedness may be related to core values. Civic-minded professionals have strong ethics and work cooperatively to promote the general welfare of others. Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) education programs use a variety of methods to develop professional behaviors, Core Values, and civic mindedness in students, including experiential service-learning. The purpose of this study was to describe the trajectory of civic mindedness and core values over the course of a three-year DPT program in three cohorts of graduate students. Methods: Three cohorts of DPT students were surveyed using two established tools at the beginning and completion of the didactic portion of the curriculum. The Civic-minded Professional Scale (CMP) provides an overall score as well as 5-subscale scores measuring constructs of consensus building, voluntary action, identity and calling, and being a social trustee; higher scores indicating greater levels of civic-mindedness. The APTA Professionalism in Physical Therapy: Core Values self-assessment (PPTCV) measures accountability, altruism, compassion/caring, excellence, integrity, professional duty, and social responsibility. Results: The classes of 2021 and 2022 had scores increase or remain stable across the CMP and PPTCV but the class of 2023 total and subscale scores either significantly decreased or remained stable from pre-test to post-test. Conclusions: The shift to indirect and electronic service-learning during the pandemic may have negatively impacted the development of civic mindedness and physical therapist core values in the class of 2023. These deficits could impact graduates in early clinical practice in both professional behaviors and civic-mindedness.

Author Bio(s)

Sandy L. Campbell. PT, PhD, MBA is Clinical Professor and Co-Director of Clinical Education in the Institute for Physical Therapy at Widener University. She is a Pennsylvania-licensed physical therapist and serves as the Vice Chairperson for the Pennsylvania State Board of Physical Therapy.

Kerstin M. Palombaro, PT, PhD, is Program Director of the PhD in Health Professions Education and Professor in the Institute for Physical Therapy Education at Widener University. She is a Pennsylvania-licensed physical therapist.

Ellen A. Erdman, PT, DPT, HPCS is an adjunct in the Institute for Physical Therapy Education at Widener University. She is a Pennsylvania-licensed physical therapist.


Submission Location


To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.