Assessing the Development of Civic Mindedness in a Cohort of Physical Therapy Students

Kerstin M Palombaro, Jill D Black, Robin L Dole, Jessica L Pierce, Marisa R Santiago, Edward J Sabara


Introduction and Background

Colleges and universities have an obligation to educate graduate students who demonstrate civic literacy and who can engage in civic inquiry and action. Service-learning and community engagement courses are highly effective in developing civic-mindedness. Graduate professional programs may have additional reasons for focusing on development of civic mindedness. The purpose of this paper is 1) to determine if civic-mindedness increased in a cohort of physical therapy students exposed to a variety of civic engagement programs and service-learning courses and 2) to determine if there is a difference in civic-mindedness between students serving on a clinic Student Board and their classmates in a graduate physical therapy program.


The Civic-Minded Professional Scale (CMP) is a 23-item, 7-point Likert-scale survey designed to measure the domains of self-identity; work, career and profession; and civic attitudes, civic action, and public purpose to measure the construct of civic-mindedness. The CMP was administered to a cohort of graduate physical therapy students at the beginning of the professional curriculum and at the end of each of three years of didactic coursework.


Friedman’s repeated measures ANOVA with post hoc testing revealed that civic mindedness increased in our students throughout the course of the graduate physical therapy curriculum.

Discussion and Conclusion

Students involved in service-learning coursework imbedded throughout a graduate physical therapy program had increases in civic-mindedness. Service-learning coursework may be an effective way to develop civic mindedness in graduate students.


Civic Mindedness, Civic Minded Professional Scale, Service-Learning

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ISSN 1527-9316