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SIOUX CITY, Iowa — When Briar Cliff University was exploring its options to expand academic offerings, the Catholic university looked at the needs of the market.
“We found the growth in employment for physical therapists is projected to be 36 percent. It’s a growing profession,” said Bev Wharton, president of Briar Cliff. “At the same time, as we looked at the concentration of physical therapists in this area, we have 40 percent less than what the population needs.”
“We are at a time when there is growth in a profession and in a part of the country where there is a shortage.”
— Bev Wharton, BCU President
With this in mind, the university will soon open its doors to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)* program that was recently granted candidacy status for accreditation. The new program will have a new facility, in the recently-opened Mayfair Center campus in Sioux City.
“We are at a time when there is growth in a profession and in a part of the country where there is a shortage,” Wharton said.
This program was a good fit for the university that already offers strong science programming. Nursing and biology are popular majors at Briar Cliff. In fact, the school’s first doctrinal program is a doctorate for nurse practitioners. Plus, the new physical therapy program was in line with the university’s mission.
“We feel this is a wonderful opportunity to address a health care need in our region,” Wharton said.
The DPT program* at BCU will admit up to 32 students each year. They will complete 136 hours in 34 months, including 44 weeks of clinical education as well as seven credits of community and clinical-based experiences with underserved populations while under the mentorship of their instructors. Briar Cliff has partnered with over 100 sites for the students to complete clinical rotations.
The new campus at Mayfair is a 14,000-square foot space that allows 24-hour secure access to vital learning spaces. Some highlights of the new facility include a mock apartment for teaching and practicing activities of daily living, interprofessional lab classroom, private treatment rooms and research space.
BCU at Mayfair Campus: Slideshow Tour
The Mayfair campus has been outfitted with equipment for which a variety of fields could benefit; such as, applied behavioral analysis students may use the one-way mirrors and audio equipment in their work with autism students.
“But it’s not just about nursing students and behavioral analysis students coming in, it’s about getting the students together to learn how to work together in teams to value each other’s skill sets and learn about each other’s professions,” said program director Patrick Cross.
Facility enhancements have also been made to the main Briar Cliff campus with the addition of an all-dry biomedical sciences lab and an expanded cadaver lab that will be used by the doctoral physical therapy students as well as undergrad students.