Mission Vision and Strategic planning

Mission & Vision

  • Introduction 

    The USC Strategic Vision calls for the university community to “address global challenges, spark creativity, invent and innovate, connect peoples and help improve the quality of life.” The USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy intends to play a leading role in these ambitious endeavors. The objectives that we strive to achieve will require us to harness our strengths, continue to achieve excellence, and be leaders in shaping the future of healthcare. We are committed to continuous learning and transformation to accomplish our mission: to enhance human health and quality of life.

    We live in an era of unprecedented opportunities and extraordinary challenges. Advances in science and technology, especially in the areas of communications and information processing, are transforming society. Medical science also has made enormous strides. Yet healthcare models have failed to adequately deliver these scientific advances across societies. The fundamental problem of how to provide quality health care to all people dominates policy discussions related to social structure, economics, upward mobility, diversity, democracy, human rights, and, indeed, what we value as a society. Further, as the National Academy of Medicine points out, “Professional education has not kept pace with these challenges, largely because of fragmented, outdated, and static curricula.” Accordingly, we must transform how we prepare the next generation of physical therapists to deliver the highest level of care to society.

    The USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy has spent the last three decades creating a unique and powerful community of faculty, students, staff, patients, and other partners to answer this challenge. Our excellence derives from our combined strength in research, education, and clinical service. We are uniquely positioned to develop innovative solutions that integrate across these three domains. By leveraging our strengths in each of these areas, we can create new value for students, patients, and society.

  •  Mission  

    To enhance the health and quality of life of all people by advancing physical therapy education, science, and practice.

    Our Objectives

    1. Transform Education to Meet Societal Needs
    2. Develop Leaders for a Rapidly Changing Healthcare System
    3. Integrate Research and Practice to Advance Science and Human Health
    4. Influence Local and Global Communities of Practice

    Key Themes

    Our pursuit of these strategic objectives will focus on key themes that characterize our strengths and passions as a community:


    Human health and quality of life across the lifespan depend on the ability to move skillfully and efficiently. We strive to advance the scientific understanding of the extraordinarily complex phenomenon of human movement and to develop innovative movement-related interventions that enhance functional capacity and improve performance.


    Advances in technology have transformed life in the 21st century, profoundly impacting how we access information, interact with our communities, make discoveries, and meet the fundamental needs of society. We embrace the use of technology in education, research, and practice. By developing and integrating new technologies we leverage the power of these innovations to better meet the needs of students, patients, the profession, and society.


    In healthcare practice and research, emphasis on value has shifted the paradigm from payment for services to payment for outcome while providing an excellent patient experience. This requires innovative delivery models that redefine the role of physical therapists. Further, innovative educational models provide value by preparing graduates to be expert practitioners in a dynamic healthcare environment.


    Professional practice requires the translation of theory to action. The ultimate purpose of our activities in research and education is to improve practice. We seek new knowledge and understanding of complex biological and psychosocial mechanisms. We translate knowledge into advances in practice. We disseminate these advances to local and global communities of practice.

    The Individual

    We are a learning community; we use data to improve the quality of what we do. As we embrace technologies that allow us to analyze vast data sets and to connect with social communities, we recognize that healthcare and education are most effective, and most humane, when centered on the individual patient or student. To excel as a learning community, we must connect individuals to one another and to the world.

    James Gordon, EdD, PT, FAPTA
    Associate Dean and Chair


  • Vision 

    To transform healthcare by creating the future in physical therapy.  

    Strategic Priorities

    Based on the objectives and themes that we have identified,we choose the following as our strategic priorities for the next five years:

    Transforming Education to Meet SocietalNeeds

    • Initiate the process of transforming DPT education by developing a hybrid (online/on-campus) DPT program using innovative curricular approaches and enhancing   access to professional education.

    • Broaden the scope of our educational offerings and research enterprise by developing a new concentration in Sports Science for the MS in Biokinesiology.

    • Build a research focus on educational methodology in order to improve our own programs and to contribute to professional education.

    Developing Leaders for a Rapidly Changing HealthcareSystem

    • Increase the value of our educational programs by raising funds to offset student costs through scholarships, fellowships, and grants.

    • Institute a faculty development program that provides mentorship, training, and support to all levels of faculty.

    • Promote clinical excellence through progressive,evidence-based post-professional education offerings, including residency and fellowship programs.

    • Positively impact population health by redefining the role of the physical therapist as an essential primary care provider across the lifespan.

    • Enhance the sustainability of physical therapy science by recruiting more physical therapists in to the PhD in biokinesiology program.

    Integrating Research and Practice to Advance Science and Human Health

    • Develop collaborations inside and outside of USC to create interdisciplinary centers of excellence that will address major societal health problems,including:

    - Chronic non-communicable diseases (especially cancer, obesity and diabetes, developmental disability, and neurodegenerative disease)

    - Long-term disability resulting from both adult and perinatal stroke

    - Chronic pain leading to disability and opioid abuse

    • Create a Division-wide research center with a focus on the study of movement and exercise to promote health and treat disease.

    Influencing Local and Global Communities of Practice

    • Build a more diverse community of faculty,students, and staff, and create an educational and work environment that is tolerant and inclusive.

    • Improve access to high-quality physical therapy at USC and in the community by developing sustainable interprofessional ,patient-centered clinical services.

    Expand global reach by developing post-professional education offerings for international markets.