Harding University physical therapy program awarded full accreditation; graduates inaugural class

Harding University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program has been granted full accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program was given a five-year term extending until June 2019.

The CAPTE board of directors made their decision to award full accreditation status following a January site visit. The organization examined every aspect of the program including curriculum, faculty, scholarship, clinical rotation sites, facilities and resources.

“We are very blessed that, from the board of trustees to the president, everyone has been very supportive of this program. This is a team effort,” said Dr. Mike McGalliard, director of the program. “They’ve given us great support in terms of equipment and facilities. Our priority is to fully embrace the mission of the University.”

The timing of this accomplishment of full-accreditation status also comes with an historic milestone for the University with the graduation of the program’s inaugural class. Commencement ceremonies were held May 10, and Harding’s first-ever physical therapists received their Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees.

“We had a really special group of students,” McGalliard said. “Many of them were accepted to other programs, but they chose to stay here at Harding even though, at the time they were accepted, we were not accredited. They believed enough in the program and in the University to stay.”

The program’s inaugural class was seated in 2011. This first class included 11 female and 10 male students from 13 states. Commencement and hooding ceremonies were held on campus in Benson Auditorium with President Bruce D. McLarty presenting diplomas to all graduates. Harding’s physical therapy program is only the third in the state of Arkansas.