Trine To Offer First Doctoral Program

Trine University is pleased to announce that the school will be offering their first-ever doctorate program. The school will be hiring a new dean and program director to head the endeavor.

The new School of Health Sciences, Trine’s sixth school, will initially offer the university’s doctor of physical therapy program. However, Trine is considering other health care-related programming within the new school.

“This is an exciting and historic time at Trine as we add the School of Health Sciences and offer our first doctoral program,” said Trine president Earl D. Brooks II, Ph.D. “It is with great preparation and deliberation that we add this school and program to prepare students to meet the growing regional and national demand for physical therapists.”

At the helm of the school and new Doctor of Physical Therapy program is Max Baumgartner, P.T., Ph.D., of Perrysburg, Ohio. Baumgartner, who was hired Jan. 2, came to Trine from the University of Toledo.

“Dr. Baumgartner is a capable and experienced physical therapist who will lead Trine through the accreditation process with the Higher Learning Commission and the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education,” Brooks said. “He brings with him more than 20 years of clinical experience and 15 years of academic experience.”

The doctoral program will be in partnership with Parkview Hospital and Lutheran Hospital of Indiana, both located in Fort Wayne at the Parkview’s Randallia campus in the former Fort Wayne Cardiology building. The 66,000-square-foot facility is being renovated to house a state-of-the art biomechanics and movement sciences lab, along with classrooms and offices to support faculty and staff.

“I’m privileged to be a part of this growth and change at Trine,” Baumgartner said. “I look forward to carrying Trine’s tradition of excellence and innovation into the School of Health Sciences, and to ensuring the success of this new doctoral program.”

Trine plans to offer a 3+3 program, a viable model used by several other universities, Baumgartner said. This program would give Trine students the advantage of earning a doctorate in six years, compared to seven years for students who complete a bachelor degree elsewhere and then are accepted into Trine’s doctoral program. The program for which Trine is in the process of seeking accreditation would enable qualified Trine students to enter the physical therapy doctorate program after three years of undergraduate work. After completing the first year in the physical therapy program, students would earn a Bachelor of Science degree in either exercise science or biology, he said. Students would then continue for two more years to earn their doctor of physical therapy degree.

The program will help meet growing demand for more physical therapists with doctorate degrees, Baumgartner said. “As the knowledge base in the field has grown, physical therapists have had to increase their studies, making doctorate degrees the new standard,” he explained.

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 39 percent growth in the number of physical therapists needed through 2020, and reports the median wage in 2010 was $76,310 (the most recent figure available).

Trine is seeking status as “candidate for accreditation” from the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education and from the Higher Learning Commission with plans to begin accepting applications in fall 2013 with a target enrollment of 30 students. Letters of acceptance are scheduled to be sent in spring 2014, with classes projected to begin in fall 2014.

Baumgartner earned a Doctorate of Philosophy degree and an education specialist certification, both in computing technology in education, from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; a Master of Science in physical therapy from the University of Saint Augustine, Saint Augustine, Fla.; and a Bachelor of Science in physical therapy and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the University of Toledo.

He also completed a fellowship at the University of Saint Augustine, Institute of Physical Therapy.

Source: Trine University, Inside INdiana Business

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