Terry Nordstrom

Professor EdD, PT

Programs and Courses Taught

Doctor of Physical Therapy

PT 741 Professional Issues I and PT 747 Professional Issues II

About Me

I have worked in a variety of clinical settings through my career in physical therapy, including a tertiary care pediatric medical center, academic medical center, home care, and outpatient physical therapy practices. During my career i have served as a clinical instructor, clinic owner, and Director of Rehabilitation Services. I started teaching at Samuel Merritt University in 1992, the 2nd year of the program and have the privilege of teaching every class of students who have completed their physical therapy education here. I was the Director of Clinical Education from 1998-2003 and was Department Chair from 2003-2012. In 2012, I assumed a new position as Assistant Academic Vice President in the Office of Academic Affairs where i was responsible for Interprofessional Education for the University as well as for community engagement. In 2015 I became Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services at the University. I continue to teach in the Department of Physical Therapy


I received my undergraduate education at UC Santa Cruz graduating in 1975. I earned a Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Stanford University in 1977. I completed my Doctor of Education in Organization Leadership from the University of San Francisco in 2008.

Teaching Interests

My area of teaching is in ethics and professional formation. 

Scholarly Interests

I have studied ethical reasoning among physical therapy students. I was part of a team that completed the first national study of excellence and innovation in physical therapy education. Our team continues to disseminate our research findings. I am now part of a team at the University investigating factors that contribute to student success in health professions education. 


Peer Reviewed Publications:
Jensen GM, Nordstrom T, Mostrom E, Hack LM, Gwyer, J. National Study of Excellence and Innovation in Physical Therapist Education: Part 1—Design, Method, and Results, Physical Therapy, Volume 97(9): 857-874.    https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzx061
Jensen GM, Hack LM, Nordstrom T, Gwyer J, Mostrom E. National Study of Excellence and Innovation in Physical Therapist Education: Part 2—A Call to Reform, Physical Therapy, Volume 97(9): 875–888, https://doi.org/10.1093/ptj/pzx062
Jensen GM, Nordstrom T, Segal RL, McCallum C, Graham C, Greenfield B. Education research in physical therapy:  Visions of the possible.  Phys Ther;2016:96(12):1874-1884. DOI: 10.2522/ptj.
Hoeger Bement MK, St. Marie B, Nordstrom T, Christensen N, Mongoven,JM, Koebner IJ, Fishman SM, MD, Sluka KA.  An Interprofessional consensus of core competencies for prelicensure education in pain management:  Curriculum application for physical therapy.  Phys Ther: 2014:94:451-465. doi:10.2522/ptj.20130346
Nordstrom, T. Physical therapist students as moral agents during clinical experiences.  Dissertation Abstracts International, 69(06) 2008A.  University of San Francisco; 2008. (UMI Number AAT 3317689).
Bloch, D and Nordstrom, T. Complexity-based Ethics:  Martin Buber and dynamic Self-Organization. In Explorations in Complexity Thinking: Pre-proceedings of the 3rd international Workshop on Complexity and Philosophy.  Ed. KA Richardson and P Cilliers, ISCE Publishing, Mansfield, Massachusetts.  2007
Winograd, CH, Lemsky, C, Nevitt, M, Nordstrom, T, Stewart, A, Miller, C, Bloch, D Development of a physical performance and mobility examination (PPME), Journal of The American Geriatric Society, 1994, 42(7):743-9.
Perham H., Smick J, Hallum A, and Nordstrom T, Development of the lateral equilibrium response in stance, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 1987, 29:758-765.
Books and Book Chapters
Jensen GM, Mostrom E, Hack LM, Nordstrom T, Gwyer J,. Educating Physical Therapists. Thorofare, NJ; Slack Inc. 2019.
Christensen N and Nordstrom T.  Facilitating the Teaching of Clinical Reasoning In GM Jensen and E Mostrom, ed. Handbook of Teaching and Learning for Physical Therapists 3rd ed. St. Louis MO: Elsevier;183-199: 2013.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Education Leadership Partnership. APTA/ACAPT/APTE Education Research Strategy Group. 2017 to present.
American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (Previously Academic Council, American Physical Therapy Association)
President, February 2012 to October 2014
Vice-President, October 2010 to February 2012
Alternative Representative to Global Forum on Innovation in Health Professions Education, Institute of Medicine.  October 2012 to present.
American Physical Therapy Association
Ethics and Judicial Committee, July 1, 2009 to 2014.  Chair 2013-14.
Clinical Instructor Education Board, 2002 to 2005. Chair, 2004-2005.
Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.  On-site reviewer.  2013 to present.
Academy of Physical Therapy Education, American Physical Therapy Association
Task Force on Council of Physical Therapy Education Programs, 2008- 2011.
Section for Research
Section for Health Policy and Administration, American Physical Therapy Association
Chairperson, Research Committee, 1990, 1991.
California Physical Therapy Association
Chapter Ethics Committee, 2000-2009, Chair 2003 - 2009

Community Service

I am a volunteer mediator with a community-based mediation group in Oakland. I  serve the professional association in several roles. Professionally, I am a consultant/mentor for the Grantsmanship and Mentorship in Education Research and a mentor in the Education Leadership Institute of the APTA.

Honors & Awards

Prestige Speaker, Cleveland State University, Department of Physical Therapy. October, 21, 2019.
Irma Ruebling Distinguished Speaker, St. Louis University Department of Physical Therapy. March 28-29, 2019.
Polly Cerasoli Lectureship, Academy of Education, APTA. January 2019. (Award notification January 2018)
Fellow, American Physical Therapy Association.  June, 2015
Senior Fellow and Scholar, National Academy of Practice, Physical Therapy.  April 5, 2014.
“Non-Research Publication Award,” Physical Therapist Faculty.  California Physical Therapy Association for, Chapter 11:  Facilitating the Teaching and Learning of Clinical Reasoning in Handbook of Teaching and Learning for Physical Therapists, 3rd edition.  Co-author and co-recipient with Nicole Christensen
Outstanding Doctoral Student, Department of Organization and Leadership, School of Education, University of San Francisco, May, 2008.
Allen and Dorothy Calvin Doctoral Dissertation Award, School of Education, University of San Francisco, 2007
Graduate Merit Scholarship, School of Education, University of San Francisco.  2004-2005 and 2005-2006.
Charles Magistro Service Award, California Physical Therapy Association, 2004.
Stromman-Dillashaw Award, Samuel Merritt College, 2003.