In December 2010, Sandy Cassady, PhD, was appointed the Dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences. Soon after this announcement, the Physical Therapy Department began a national search for the next director.
The search committee was comprised of Kevin Farrell, PhD, (chair of the committee), Bryon Ballantyne, PhD, John Barr, PhD, and Nora Riley, PhD, all from the Physical Therapy Department; Lynn Kilburg, PhD, from the Occupational Therapy Department; Matt Laurent, PhD, from the Department of Kinesiology; and Michelle Franklin and Ryan Williams as physical therapy student representatives. The committee worked very hard interacting with potential candidates at the Combined Sections meeting, conducting phone interviews, and hosting three candidates for on-campus interviews.
In April, Michael Puthoff, PT, PhD, GCS, was named the next Director of the Physical Therapy Department. Puthoff received his Master of Physical Therapy from Marquette University and his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Iowa in Physical Rehabilitation Science. He began his career at St. Ambrose University in 2004 as an instructor. In 2006, he was promoted to assistant professor and then in 2010 to associate professor. From 2009-10 he served as Assistant Director of the Physical Therapy Department and then as Interim Director in late 2010 into 2011.
In 2007, he was recognized as an emerging leader in the profession of physical therapy by the American Physical Therapy Association. In 2008 he was named St. Ambrose University Graduate Professor of the Year.
Puthoff said he considers it an honor to be the Director of the Physical Therapy Department.
"We have a wonderful group of faculty and staff in the Physical Therapy Department," he said. "Our students and alumni make us proud through their commitment to lifelong learning, dedication to the profession of physical therapy, and their caring demeanors. We have very good support from numerous physical therapy clinics and health care systems throughout the region. All these factors–and so many more–made my decision to seek and accept this position an easy one."
He also said he is looking forward to the rewards and challenges this new role will bring.
Puthoff will continue to have a teaching role in the curriculum addressing topics on cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation, health promotion, and geriatrics. He will also maintain a few hours each week of clinical practice in the area of geriatrics.