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Background and Purpose: Many physical therapy educational programs are adding international service-learning (ISL) opportunities to their curricula as a way to address the increasingly global nature of the profession. There is a paucity of physical therapy literature addressing ISL, with a particular deficiency related to ISL faculty. The purpose of this study was to describe faculty demographics, teaching styles, and educational perspectives, and to compare faculty who did and did not lead ISL experiences with physical therapy students.

Subjects: Two hundred five physical therapy faculty; 23% of whom led ISL.

Methods: Subjects were recruited through two professional listservs and data were gathered via a commercial web-based service. Faculty with and without ISL experience were compared on demographic variables, Teaching Style, and Educational Perspective. Measurement tools included standard demographic inquires, the Grasha and Riechmann-Hruska Teaching Style Survey, and a researcher-developed Educational Perspective questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to explore characteristics predictive of participation in ISL.

Results: Subjects’ most common teaching style was Personal Model / Formal Authority / Delegator and a Professional focus was the most commonly identified educational perspective. Familiarity with key educational authors was limited. There was no relationship between ISL involvement and teaching style, but a relationship was identified between ISL involvement and the Critical perspective. The factors in this study were not predictive of ISL participation.

Discussion and Conclusion: In general, ISL faculty did not differ from their colleagues who did not have ISL experience. Study findings, however, can inform, and provide rationale and support for existing and future ISL programs. This study also provides a context for encouraging the discussion and exploration of faculty teaching styles and educational perspectives.

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