Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

Mentoring and retention of physical therapy faculty

Joanne Pelletier Rickert, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The factors influencing the retention of physical therapy college faculty had not been previously substantiated. In this study investigating faculty retention, all 36 full-time faculty from the four accredited, entry-level physical therapy programs in a large southern state, received a questionnaire. Twenty-eight (78%) returned the completed questionnaire. In addition, interviews were conducted with eight consenting faculty, two from each of the four universities. Although mentors are considered by physical therapy faculty to be very valuable, mentorship alone did not significantly affect physical therapy faculty retention. In addition, no significant differences were noted between mentored and non-mentored faculty with regard to gender, rank, tenure, salary, career selection, prospects for future success, and job satisfaction. In addition, gender did not significantly influence retention, salary, tenure, rank, prospects for future success, career planning, feelings about job change or retention in present job. In this study a slightly higher percentage of women versus men were mentored. The majority of women and all men had a mentor of the same gender. Unlike women in male dominated professions, women in physical therapy faculty positions found other women and men willing to act as their mentors. Women also tended to remain in the mentoring relationship for more years than men. Mentored faculty, particularly women, had also taken on the role of mentor, thus perpetuating the mentor relationship legacy. Both women and men experienced relatively few problems as compared with the many benefits of the mentor relationship. There appeared to be a variety of factors influencing faculty retention. The questionnaire results revealed rank and tenure to influence faculty retention positively. Within the interviews, faculty most frequently mentioned other "faculty", as a positive feature attracting them to and retaining them within their institution. Salary, although not a significant finding in the survey, was mentioned several times throughout the interviews. It appeared that when salaries reach a critically low level, one lower than or approximating the salary of new graduates, faculty reconsider their options for clinical rather than academic jobs. The institution studied that had the highest retention also had the greatest percentage of tenured faculty and the second highest salary.

Subject Area

Rehabilitation|Therapy|School administration|Health education|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Rickert, Joanne Pelletier, "Mentoring and retention of physical therapy faculty" (1993). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9408336.