Perceptions of Academic Rights and Responsibilities in Physical Therapy Students and Faculty
Purpose/Hypothesis: A majority of the faculty members who teach in a physical therapy program are Baby Boomers of Gen Xers, whereas most of today's physical therapy students are Millennials. Millennials tend to possess a more inflated sense of generalized entitlement than do Baby Boomers or Gen Xers. One type of generalized entitlement is known as academic entitlement, sometimes referred to as student consumerism. The purpose of this study was to compare the academic entitlement of physical therapy students with the way in which physical therapy faculty members perceive their students' academic rights and responsibilities. Number of Subjects: 158 Materials and Methods: The participants were Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) faculty members and DPT students at a public liberal arts university. The data collection tool was a 15-item academic entitlement questionnaire created by Greenberger et al. Data analysis was performed in SAS 9.4. A comparison of how the faculty members and students answered the individual questionnaire items was calculated using the Fisher's Exact p-value, and a comparison of how the faculty members and students responded to the entire questionnaire was calculated using Cronbach's Alpha. Results: Twelve faculty members (four Baby Boomers and eight Gen Xers) and 146 students (one Gen Xer and 145 Millennials) completed the academic entitlement questionnaire. When the Fisher's Exact p-value was corrected for multiple testing, there was no significant difference between the way in which the the faculty members answered the individual questionnaire items and the way in the the students responded to each question. However, when the entire questionnaire was considered, there was a significant difference between how the faculty members thought their students should feel about their academic rights and responsibilities and how the students scored in terms of their academic entitlement (p=0.0452). Conclusions: Some DPT students may have an inflated sense of their academic entitlement. Therefore, DPT faculty members should find ways in which to better convey their expectations of academic rights and responsibilities to the students. Clinical Relevance: Because a significant gap was discovered between the academic entitlement of the students and the way in which the faculty members perceived their students' academic rights and responsibilities, it is important to find strategies that will close this gap. A few of the strategies suggested in the literature include a change in admission and recruitment policies and procedures, a modification of the way in which faculty members provide student assessment and feedback, administrative support when faculty members address student academic entitlement issues, and an emphasis upon student responsibility for their own knowledge acquisition and ultimate success. Because many of the students now entering college are members of Generation Z, DPT faculty members should also begin to develop ways in which to effectively educate and engage this next generational cohort.