Welcome all to the Fall Edition of the Gator PT. I hope you are doing well and that this upcoming holiday season will be one of joy for you and your family.
As we begin looking ahead towards the new year, I want to glance back at the positive outcomes from 2020. Living with coronavirus has challenged us to adapt socially and professionally — to embrace living parts of our lives in the virtual environment, to reimagine our social interactions, to create hybrid learning spaces, and to refine how we teach, conduct research, and study.
While these changes took considerable work and effort from students, faculty, and staff, many changes have been positive and I expect that “hyflex,” “hybrid,” and “synchronous” will remain long term parts of our common teaching and learning vernacular.
Many great things happened since the spring. The Doctor of Physical Therapy Class of 2020 finished their clinical experiences and graduated in May. We were able to safely and successfully return faculty, staff, and students to campus in the summer for in-person laboratory classes. The class of 2021 left us for clinical experiences this fall and are heading towards final experiences in the spring. We welcomed 75 students to the DPT program, and I look forward to getting to know the Class of 2023 as they evolve into life-long learners and remarkable physical therapists. The renovations at the Clinical Learning Center are almost finished — adding another 5,000 sq. feet of learning spaces, a conference room and offices to the previous space. And we are fortunate to have support from Rolf and Anne Kuhns to promote our students’ learning. Rolf is a graduate of Class of 1972 and you will read more about their generous gift later in the newsletter.
We heard the calls for social justice and are committed to learning how to be allies and advocates for change in our systems and institutions. We believe that diversity makes us stronger, and we acknowledge that our program must make intentional and meaningful changes to our curriculum, our recruitment and retention of students, staff and faculty from backgrounds that are underrepresented in our program, and our engagement with the larger Gainesville community. Our newly formed Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility, or IDEA, work group includes students, staff and faculty and will provide direction to anti-racism efforts as a priority for our department.
And although Veterans Day has passed, I want to acknowledge all of our Gator family who have, currently, or will serve in the U.S. Uniformed Services. Whether it’s in a clinic, the battlefield, or a new virtual environment, you are serving others. You know the meaning of sacrifice, and we share our gratitude for your service.
I hope you take the time to read through this edition of the Gator PT. I’m proud of all the accomplishments our faculty, staff and students have achieved – I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I do.
Wishing everyone safe, happy holidays and a great New Year!