Welcome to the APTA Education Leadership Institute (ELI) Fellowship! APTA designed ELI Fellowship to provide new and aspiring program directors in physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education programs with the skills and resources they need to be innovative, influential, and visionary leaders who can function within a rapidly evolving, politico-sociocultural environment. The program was first accredited by American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE), the accrediting body for postprofessional residency and fellowship programs in physical therapy, in 2012 and reaccredited in 2017 through 2027.
This fellowship is one year in length (July to July). The ELI Fellowship begins with an orientation in July and concludes in July of the following year. There will be an opportunity for ELI Fellow alumni to network in the fall concurrent with the fall Education Leadership Conference sponsored by the Education Section and the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT). This cycle will repeat annually.
See also the ELI Overview.
A 2-hour orientation, using video and audio conferencing, facilitate the fellows understanding of the roles and responsibilities of program participants, mentors, faculty, and program director. This orientation overview addresses the following:
- In mentorship subgroups, expectations of fellows including challenges, rewards, the institutional leadership project, and leadership development plan are addressed.
- Opportunity to connect online with the class of fellows, mentors with identification of fellows and mentor networking subgroups, ELI program director, and selected ELI Fellowship Work Group members.
- Instructions about how to access and use the APTA Learning Center and ELI e-community on the APTA Hub.
Online Education Component
Nine online modules are provided through the APTA Learning Center by faculty recognized by the ELI Work Group as content experts. The modules address the breadth and depth of knowledge required to function in the role of program director and leadership within higher education.
- Module 1: Personal Leadership and Management
- Module 2: Higher Education, Healthcare Systems, and Society
- Module 3: Institutional Leadership and Management
- Module 4: Student Affairs
- Module 5: Legal and Policy Issues
- Module 6: Human Resource Management
- Module 7: Resources/Financial Management
- Module 8: Program Development and Outcomes Assessment
- Module 9: Relationships, Influence, and Partnerships
Most faculty content experts who teach the online modules are selected from outside of physical therapy to broaden each fellow's perspective and understanding of leadership within the context of higher education. Module content is applied directly to physical therapy situations during mentor e-community sessions and face-to-face sessions. ELI fellows have an opportunity to interact online with expert faculty during 3 virtual office hours conducted via webinars and webcams.
Three, 2-day, face-to-face sessions are provided in October, March, and July based on a developmental integrative curriculum that enables fellows to clarify and pose questions of faculty related to the modules, receive focused mentoring to integrate the curricular content of ELI through peer-reviewed case vignettes and real-life situations, refine and enhance leadership development plans, explore and advance leadership development projects, and engage in an open environment that facilitates a strong leadership community. The first onsite session is held in conjunction with the Education Leadership Conference (ELC). For the upcoming onsite session dates, go to ELI Admissions.
Mentorship is an integral part of the ELI Fellowship experience. These individuals provide regular, timely, and close interaction with the fellows through coaching, advising, and thought-provoking questions. ELI fellows interact with 2 types of mentors during the Fellowship: ELI Mentors and Institutional Mentors (Supervisors). The mentoring relationship in ELI will provide the aspiring or novice academic administrators:
- A role model in academic leadership,
- A role model in effective mentoring techniques, and
- An individual professional resource who can serve as coach, sounding board, and guide.
For more information about mentoring, see the ELI Guide for Institutional Mentors.
Leadership Development Reflections Worksheet
Fellows participate in ongoing assessment to refine and enhance a personal leadership development plan to advance their knowledge, abilities, and skills within their academic institution and higher education. The Bolman and Deal (2008) theoretical framework - or the Four Frames Approach - is the basis for ELI’s collaborative exploration of personal leadership and is applied throughout the entire Fellowship. The program also explores other contemporary leadership theories. Fellows determine which theories are relevant to their personal leadership journey.
Based on a problem or situation within the participant’s academic institution, the applicant identifies a project topic that directly benefits the sponsoring institution. Throughout the program these projects are further developed and refined with feedback from peers, mentors, and institutional mentors/supervisors. These projects are fully defined by the end of ELI; however, projects may not be completed as some may extend past the end of the Fellowship.
Assessments and Evaluations
Fellows must complete multiple assessments and evaluations to fulfill ABPTRFE requirements, including 1 admissions survey, 9 module post-tests, 9 module surveys to capture feedback, 3 post-onsite session surveys, post-trimester mentorship evaluations, and 3 post-graduation surveys (at graduation, 1 year, and 3 years).
To learn more about the Fellowship, review the ELI Manual (.pdf).