Education Leadership Institute (ELI) Overview


The mission of the APTA Education Leadership Institute (ELI) Fellowship is to develop innovative and influential leaders in physical therapy (physical therapist and physical therapist assistant) education who can function within a changing politico-sociocultural environment. To achieve this mission the ELI Fellowship will be:

  • Oriented toward leadership in the broadest context,
  • Designed to meet contemporary education leadership needs with an eye toward the future,
  • Provided across all levels of educators, not just program directors, including academic and clinician educators, and
  • Targeted toward higher education culture.¹ ²


The Education Leadership Institute Fellowship will develop physical therapist and physical therapist assistant education program directors with the leadership skills to:

  • Facilitate change and improvement in the academic environment of the 21st century.
  • Think strategically to creatively implement solutions in education to respond to changes in health care and society.
  • Engage in public discourse that advances the physical therapy profession.

Program Description

The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship (ABPTRFE) accredited APTA Education Leadership Institute Fellowship provides participants with a yearlong blended learning (online and onsite) program with curricular content that addresses the current and future needs of the profession and the education community. Acceptance into this program is by application only, requires the support of the academic institution and Dean/Supervisor, and is intended for novice (0-7 years) and emerging academic administrators. The Education Leadership Institute Fellowship is designed for participants to connect theory with practice and enable direct application of knowledge learned through the Fellowship to everyday performance. In addition, the Fellowship provides mentoring by high quality, experienced academic administrators as positive role models along with peer networking to facilitate the development of future mentors and leaders.

Participant Learning Outcomes

Specific learning outcomes for Education Leadership Institute Fellowship participants include:

Integration of Education Leadership Concepts

  • Apply contemporary leadership knowledge, skills, and behaviors associated with leadership in higher education as applied to physical therapy.
  • Participate in course, program, and long-term professional evaluations to shape the continued enhancement of leadership competencies.
  • Incorporate education leadership concepts within a leadership project and leadership development plan. 

Leadership Development Plan 

  • Develop leadership assessment and feedback skills.
  • Refine a Leadership Development Reflections Plan with the support of the academic institution, peers, and Education Leadership Institute Fellowship mentors.
  • Develop a strong network of ELI Fellows to advance leadership within physical therapy.
  • Empower ELI Fellows to facilitate and expand networks with colleagues in their academic institution and higher education.

Leadership Project

  • Develop, refine, and implement a Leadership Project that is relevant to the needs of the fellow-in-training's academic institution and that facilitates the resolution of an issue/need within the supporting academic institution.
  • Involve the academic institution's leadership, including signed consent by the participant's Dean/ supervisor, with the fellow-in-training's Leadership Project. This project may or may not be fully realized by the completion of the ELI Fellowship and may continue beyond the yearlong curriculum.


  1. Searle NS, Hatem CJ, Perkowski L, Wilkerson L. Why invest in an educational fellowship program? Academic Medicine. 2006; 81(11):936-940.
  2. Korschum HW, Redding D, Teal GL, Johns MME. Realizing the vision of leadership development in an academic health center: The woodruff leadership academy. Academic Medicine. 2007; 82(3):264-271.