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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

"Unflattening" Higher Education

Published February 19, 2016 7:46 PM by Dillon Stickle

ANAHEIM, CA -- Diane Jette, PT, DPT, DSc, FAPTA presented the thought-provoking lecture, "Unflattening," tonight for the Pauline Cerasoli Lecture. The title was named after the book Unflattening by Nick Souzanis, a novel that presents a serious inquiry into the ways humans construct knowledge. This was directly related to Jette's thoughts and ideas on higher education. She showed a video from Cosmos that showed the world, and all who inhabit it, as flat. But an apple, a three-dimensional object, came and defied the normal way of living. Jette said, "I am the apple. I am going to be the third dimension of higher education."

Jette then asked everyone to break through the two-dimensional idea of their profession and challenge the status quo of higher education.

She went on to discuss the reasons higher education is on a downhill slope; politics as usual, institutions grappling with lowering costs but saving revenue, static data which produces ill-equipped graduates, lack of student diversity, and much more.

Jette then asked a provocative question: How long will it take for increases to the price of our programs to diminish the value of entering the physical therapy profession?

At the end of her lecture, Jette asked the audience to consider these 6 suppositions:

1. It is our responsibility to address the need for diversity in the healthcare workforce and consequentially improve access to healthcare.

2. We must prepare graduates to work in a complex healthcare system in which uncertainty is the norm.

3. We need curricula reform.

4. Costs of the programs and the level of student loan debt are unsustainable.

5. Professionals have to become more efficient.

6. Work together -- accelerate learning through networked connections.

We look forward to covering more challenging lectures on the state of the physical therapy profession here at #APTACSM!

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