From Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Wisehouse Classics–Original 1865 Edition) by Lewis Carroll, “Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, and what is the use of a book, thought Alice, without pictures or conversations?” In this first chapter, entitled, Down the Rabbit Hole, Alice began questioning herself as to just how important any piece of literature can be without having the ability to stir one's mind through pictures or to begin the important conversations that must occur surrounding the issues one is reading about. After all, said Alice, “If you don't know where you are going any road can take you there.”
The second issue of the journal for 2018 presents numerous articles that encourage us to step back and to begin thinking about the important issues that are quickly ascending on our profession and what we, as educators, must do to ensure that we are allowing everyone to look at the pictures and have the much needed conversations about the issues and how best to prepare ourselves to address them. Because, like Alice, we must first be able to know where we are going before we can be able to choose the correct road(s) to get there.
We begin with Dr. Caroline Goulet's compendium of wisdom and challenges issued from the 2017 Fourth Annual Geneva R. Johnson Forum keynote speaker, Shafik Dharamsi, PhD, describing the need for disruptive innovations in physical therapy education to address a changing focus in health care systems. During the Café style group discussions among academic and clinical educators ensued to discuss these after the presentation the last October. These important conversations need to continue.
Next, we provide a report by Dr. Amy Heath et al describing the method/model used to develop a tool to assess PT educational program quality by use of the Engagement Theory, a project resulting from the work of the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT) Benchmarks for Excellence Task Force.
Articles 3 and 4 offer differing opinions on a current topic in physical therapy education: accreditation and faculty credentials. These articles propose differing perspectives on what is best for our profession in the realm of entry-level physical therapist education. In response to these opposing viewpoints, we solicited a response to the viewpoints as a statement(s) from leaders of our accrediting agency, the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). After reading these articles, ask yourself, “Where do I stand in the discussion on faculty credentials?” And perhaps even more importantly, ask yourself, “Why is that my position?”
In keeping with our vision of adding more focus to the science of education provided in your journal, seven research reports, addressing varying topics from identifying motivating factors for potential faculty to earn a terminal academic degree, assisting students in coping with the stresses of professional education, addressing the pressing issue of students managing their debt load, assessment of professional core values in our students, potential technology barriers to clinical education success, addressing the skill acquisition of clinical reasoning in our students, and concludes with several articles identifying a focus on issues surrounding interprofessional education in physical therapy.
We believe that every one of the topics and articles presented in this issue is an important one and that each article should stir some very important discussion among our profession. A recent and exciting challenge was approved through a motion at the Section Business Meeting at the 2018 Combined Sections Meeting in New Orleans. Specifically, this motion charges a task force be created to “consider using up to $1,000,000 funding to support various educational research activities ….” Such a challenge affords the opportunity to reimagine educational research in physical therapy to contribute to the development of the future of our profession and how we are preparing the next generation of clinicians. This task will most certainly add to the list of topics that require difficult conversations. But these difficult conversations are necessary for our future. Embrace these difficult conversations, participate in the discussions, and be involved as much as possible. Because we are now determining the roads we are about to travel, and these deliberations serve to guide us to a destination, we can know which roads are necessary to traverse. After all, what is the use of a book, without pictures or conversations?