Spalding University is set to build on its proud tradition of healthcare education in downtown Louisville with the launch of a Doctor of Physical Therapy program in the fall of 2022, along with the full-scale renovation of the campus building that will house it.

The entry-level Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program will be delivered in a hybrid, low-residency format of online lecture courses and in-person laboratory experiences, which will be held one week each month in the state-of-the-art facility that is currently being transformed on South Third Street.

The purchase and renovation of the 21,500-square-foot building at 961 S. Third – which was acquired by Spalding in 2019 and is well-known in Louisville as the former longtime home of the V.V. Cooke Chevrolet dealership – represent one of the largest capital projects in Spalding history, totaling about $7 million, while demonstrating the university’s commitment to investing in projects and activity downtown.

Construction is scheduled for completion in late 2021, enhancing a prominent section of Third Street and helping expand a Spalding health science corridor along Third that includes the Republic Bank Academic Center (home of nursing and social work programs) and the Kosair Charities College of Health and Natural Sciences Building (occupational therapy, athletic training, natural sciences).

The new Spalding School of Physical Therapy will offer an entry-level DPT track for aspiring physical therapists as well as an online post-professional track for practicing PTs who want to earn a doctorate.

The application period for Spalding’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program will open June 15, 2021, but students may learn about the program and request more information now at

In addition, to help fill a regional need for physical therapists with specialty training and board certification in pediatric physical therapy, the new Spalding School of Physical Therapy plans to create a post-doctoral residency and fellowship in pediatric PT. The School of Physical Therapy is planning partnerships with pediatric clinicians to provide mentoring opportunities for practitioners who want to teach in a DPT program.

View of 961 S. Third St., future home of the Spalding School of Physical Therapy
View from 2020 of 961 S. Third St., future home of the Spalding School of Physical Therapy

“Spalding’s mission is to meet the needs of the times, and for decades Spalding has been meeting a critical need in our community by preparing compassionate, skilled healthcare professionals and front-line workers,” Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said. “Spalding has pondered creating a physical therapy program for a decade, and over that time, the need and demand for physical therapists, including those skilled in working with children, have only increased. Our physical therapy program will help meet that need, and seeing this program become a reality is a proud achievement in the century-long history of our downtown campus.

“The transformed building on Third Street will be a beautiful addition to the south end of campus, a tremendous resource to our students and the latest example of our unwavering commitment to a thriving downtown Louisville.”

*Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) overview
*Entry-level DPT track info
*Post-professional online DPT track info
*Request more information

The DPT program has already been approved by the university’s regional accrediting body – the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) – and is seeking to become only the fourth DPT program in Kentucky to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

Spalding has appointed Dr. Elisa Zuber, who has more than 35 years of experience in physical therapy education with an expertise in developing new programs, to be the inaugural Chair of the new School of Physical Therapy as well as Director of the DPT program.

Zuber has been a faculty member, director of clinical education and program director at several PT and PT assistant programs. She also spent 11 years as Associate Director of the Department of Accreditation for the American Physical Therapy Association. She is a 2021 Fellow of Louisville’s Healthcare Enterprises Network.

“This program has been designed with the student in mind and caters both to students coming straight from college and nontraditional students who are already in PT practice,” Zuber said. “We have assembled a veteran faculty, and we are excited to begin forging partnerships with clinical sites regionally and nationally that will provide rich learning experiences for our students.”

Other program highlights:

  • The low-residency format of the entry-level track, in which students participate in online lecture courses for the majority of the semester and come to campus monthly for in-person lab experiences, means that out-of-town students will not need to move to Louisville to attend PT school. Students can continue to live anywhere in the country while traveling to Louisville each month for in-person labs.
  • The post-professional track of the DPT is fully online.
  • A bachelor’s degree is not required to enter the Spalding DPT program. Undergraduate students without a bachelor’s will spend their first year in the program working toward credits that will be applied to earning the degree of Bachelor of Science in Health Science from Spalding.
  • Spalding expects to enroll about 40 students each fall in the entry-level track of the DPT and about 10 per year for the post-professional track.

“Physical therapy continues to be a growing field, and Spalding’s DPT program will be an appealing option for students locally, including our own undergraduates, and nationally, given our campus’ ideal location in the heart of Louisville and near all the city’s major healthcare centers,” Spalding Provost Dr. John Burden said. “We continue to add excellent, experienced faculty, including multiple instructors who are board-certified in pediatric physical therapy. The positive impact this program will have on our community will be significant.”

Rendering of one of the labs in the School of Physical Theraphy building
The renovated building will feature a variety of lab spaces. // Courtesy of Schmidt Associates

More building details:

The renovated, two-story building at 961 S. Third St. will be the home of the School of Physical Therapy and its faculty. The building will feature three skills labs for on-site laboratory instruction as well as an anatomy education center with an anatomy wet lab and accompanying dry lab featuring models and technology for virtual anatomy instruction.

An atrium with natural light coming through the tall windows along Third Street will provide collaborative and lounge space for students. Another student lounge will be upstairs.

Schaefer Construction is the general contractor for the project. Schmidt Associates is the architecture partner.

Spalding is currently fundraising to cover the costs of work on the building, which has not been named. The Gheens Foundation has contributed a lead gift of $200,000. Those interested in supporting Spalding may contact [email protected] or visit

“This forward-thinking, technology-rich facility will be a gem for physical therapy and overall healthcare education in downtown Louisville for years to come, and this project is evidence of how committed Spalding is to helping prepare compassionate, skilled therapists and healthcare professionals to go out in the world and help those in need,” Chief Advancement Officer Caroline Heine said. “We are grateful for those who are providing financial support for this project, and we welcome others to come forward and support this important work.”

Added Spalding Dean of Graduate Education Dr. Kurt Jefferson: “This learning space will foster interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaboration among students and faculty across our health science and health professions programs and will be a site of innovation and inspiration. Consistent with the Spalding mission, we will instill in our students a commitment to diversity, justice and equity and the need to care for underserved populations.”

Rendering of atrium of Spalding School of Physical Therapy building
An atrium will offer student lounge and study spaces and lots of natural light along Third Street. // Courtesy of Schmidt Associates

Dear Spalding Community,

We are excited for the start of the 2020-21 academic year and cannot wait to see our students again soon. The fall semester will continue Spalding’s rich tradition of innovative teaching and learning across multiple formats. While we are, of course, looking forward to the safe restart of in-person instruction on our campus, we are also continuing to grow and enhance our online course offerings. We are mindful of the important work our students, faculty and staff have been doing since March, when we transitioned to remote learning in a matter of 10 days.

Following last spring’s unprecedented movement of courses, information and people – including transitioning faculty, staff, and students to work from home – we wanted to review the important direction that Spalding University was moving, regarding teaching and learning, prior to the pandemic. We also want to discuss how those activities connect to the directions we are heading as we prepare for classes in fall 2020.

Several important educational outcomes have been realized at Spalding since early 2018 in the delivery of academic programs, courses and services. Here are some of the important developments that have taken place:

• Since February 2018, an intentional transition has been taking place to provide a broader ecosystem of course modalities and options for traditional and nontraditional learners at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  In 2018, a 14-person online taskforce of faculty and staff studied and recommended taking more programs online and providing more hybrid options as well. As a result, between Academic Year (AY) 2016-17 and AY 2019-20, undergraduate online and hybrid courses grew as a percentage of all courses from 16% to 24%, while master’s courses grew from 4% to 7%, and doctoral courses grew from 12% to 14%. Hence, online, hybrid, and remote learning options have been growing at Spalding and providing additional accessible platforms to complement face-to-face courses. More digital immersive options will be coming for Spalding students.

• In line with the vision of the 2018-19 Spalding online taskforce, the University has also linked its online courses and programs to an online program management organization, Symbiosis, that will build up to 20 new online courses for our faculty in AY 2020-21.  The University will utilize funds from the Higher Education Emergency Relief program (part of the CARES Act) in order to deliver new courses that will be connected to both hybrid and fully online programs. The Provost, Academic Deans and a number of faculty leaders are currently working with Symbiosis on identifying courses for development.

• All Spalding students have access to the internet, computers and technology aides, and Spalding’s staff in information technology and online learning have equipped our students with the tools they need to successfully complete their academic coursework. In August 2020, Chief Information Officer Ezra Krumhansl will unveil a new video conferencing platform for faculty and their students in classes: Office Suite HD Meeting. HD Meeting is a branded Zoom product that will allow both full-time and adjunct faculty access to video conferencing for both real-time instructional use in the classroom and one-on-one and group meetings with students. Additionally, HD Meeting has a classroom-style “breakout groups” feature that divides synchronous classes into breakout groups during the class session. CIO Krumhansl will announce HD Meeting training soon.

• The University has continued to invest in the latest tools and applications in regard to cutting- edge educational technology. This summer faculty and students got access to our new learning management system—Canvas. Not only is Canvas the higher education industry’s gold standard, but it provides a state-of-the-art mobile app for students that will allow them to access course content and communication quicker, easier and better.

• The University continues to invest in academic support services for undergraduate and graduate students with an excellent writing center and math lab and increased graduate assistant support for various faculty and staff units so both undergraduate and graduate students will be supported in their quest to become better students in their academic, personal, and leadership endeavors. Continuing to offer these services in a hyflex/hybrid online and in-person format in AY 2020-21 will be one of the goals of the student success area.

• Spalding continues to provide financial aid in the form of scholarships, grants and loans for both undergraduate and graduate students, and graduate assistantships provide $450,000 per year for approximately 75 graduate students. An increasing number of students will receive some form of financial aid in the coming year, making a high-quality Spalding degree affordable.

In March 2020, we were able to adapt not to a storm, but a climate shift in higher education due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  With our commitment to the best in face-to-face and remote learning, Spalding is making 21st century education accessible and attainable for our students.  Each student is important at Spalding.  Our commitment is to allow students to have a highly individualized experience that is cutting-edge and academically rigorous and yields the outcomes that will help each student not only find intellectual satisfaction but apply the Spalding mission of “meeting the needs of the times.”

We look forward to serving you in the coming academic year!


Dr. John Burden, Provost
Dr. Tomarra Adams, Dean of Undergraduate Education
Dr. Kurt Jefferson, Dean of Graduate Education

March 25, 2020

Dear Spalding Students,

As concern continues over the spread of the coronavirus, the safety of our students and employees remains our top priority. As a result, Spalding’s academic leaders have decided to extend the University’s suspension of face-to-face and hybrid classes through the entirety of Session 5.  All classes will be conducted fully online until at least May 11, 2020.

The campus will remain closed except for the small group of students still living in the residence halls and the employees who are needed to ensure their care.  Students who left the residence halls earlier this month should expect to remain at home until at least May 9, 2020.

We hope everyone is adjusting well to the move to fully online learning that began on Monday for most students. Please maintain contact with your instructor during this time. We have asked all faculty to be as flexible as possible to meet student needs during this crisis.

Commencement decision in late April 

We expect that many students have questions about our plans for Commencement, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 6. We continue to hope that we will be permitted to host some variation of Commencement. To keep this hope alive, we will wait until the last reasonable moment to make a final decision. Because students will need to order regalia, and families might need to make travel plans, we will announce our decision in the last week of April. We suggest that students postpone ordering their regalia or making travel arrangements for their families until we announce our decision.

Students who plan to graduate should still submit their Application for Graduation through Web Advisor. Applications should be submitted no later than 8 a.m. on Friday, April 24.  Commencement 2020 is open to all graduating students who have already or will complete requirements from Oct.9, 2019 through Aug. 15, 2020.

We thank everyone for their understanding and for adapting to this unprecedented disruption to our campus operations and the way of life in our country. The Spalding community is strong, and we will get through this together.


Dr. John E. Burden
Professor of Chemistry
Spalding University

Good Afternoon Spalding Students,

The impact of the COVID-19 crisis is being felt by all members of our campus community – students, staff, faculty and alumni.  I wanted to share how proud I am of our University community during this time of uncertainty.  I ask that we continue to be patient and understanding with each other as we work our way together through this crisis.

As we begin Session 5, I wanted to make you aware of changes to the University’s pass/fail policy. These changes are in response to the switch from face-to-face and hybrid instruction to online-only instruction. This policy revision is in effect for Spring 2020 only. Please carefully consider the implications of taking a course pass/fail, in particular if you are an undergraduate who plans on applying to a graduate or professional program. You should also consult your academic and financial aid counselor if you are considering this option. Students who receive tuition assistance through their employer should contact their Human Resources department.

The revised policy includes:

  • All Session 5 and 6 University Studies courses and electives may be taken pass/fail.
  • The policy has been extended to all Spring 2020 courses, including graduate courses.
  • Courses graded P/F may satisfy major and concentration requirements, including minimum credit requirements. In some cases, academic units may restrict the use of the Pass/Fail option for courses that satisfy requirements in the major; students should check with their instructor to verify that the option is available in their course.
  • Students have up until one month after the end of the course to change from a letter grade to pass/fail.  This will be done through an online form that is currently under development.
  • While faculty will record individual letter grades on assignments, if students have chosen the P/F grading model, the final grade will reflect either a “P,” or “F.” A grade of “P” carries no grade points and is not included in a student’s session or cumulative GPA. A grade of “F” (failing) is recorded normally and computed into a student’s GPA.
  • Since instructors will still record letter grades for assignments, students will be able to request an official letter attesting to those grades, if necessary. This request must be presented within two weeks after the completion of the class. This letter would only attest to grades, not to GPA. Spalding will ensure that those who need evidence of their academic achievements during this time will be able to get it.
  • For students who are retaking a class to replace a previously earned “D” or “F”, the “P” grade will not be calculated into the GPA, though the credits will count toward major and degree requirements.
  • Students who plan on applying to graduate or professional programs should check with their advisor first so that they may review the requirements of those programs to ensure that a P/F grade would be acceptable.
  • The current limitations of 12 hours total of pass/fail coursework and one course per session or term have been waived.
  • In the event that the revised policy needs to be extended beyond Spring 2020, that will be approved and communicated at a later date. Should you have any questions, please contact your instructor and/or academic advisor.

Please continue to check the Spalding Healthy Together – Coronavirus Disease Information Page.  Here you will find the latest updates and links to resources such as:

  • Accessibility Services
  • Academic Advising
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Career Development
  • Math Lab and Writing Center

We are committed to ensuring that students have the resources to successfully complete all of their coursework with the least amount of disruption possible. Please make sure that you stay in contact with your instructor. We have asked all faculty to be as flexible as possible to meet student needs during this crisis.

Thank you,

Dr. John E. Burden
Professor of Chemistry
Spalding University

Spalding University announces that it has elevated Associate Provost and longtime faculty member Dr. John Burden to the role of Provost. He replaces Dr. Joanne Berryman, who is retiring as Provost but will remain at the university as a consultant and manager of special academic programs and outreach projects.

As Provost, Burden will serve as the chief academic officer at Spalding and oversee all academic affairs of the university. The move took effect on July 1.

Burden has been a Spalding faculty member for 20 years and has extensive knowledge of the university’s academic programs.

Before being promoted to Associate Provost for the 2018-19 year, Burden spent four years as Associate Dean of the Kosair Charities College of Health and Natural Sciences, overseeing Spalding’s natural science and psychology programs.

He has also served as the Chair of the School of Natural Science, where he directed programs for undergraduate students focused on pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-veterinary medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-physical therapy and other tracks. Burden, who holds bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in chemistry from the University of Louisville, has been a chemistry professor at Spalding since 1999 and is a past recipient of the university’s Outstanding Faculty Award.

Burden has also served as Spalding Faculty Senate President and faculty representative on the university’s Board of Trustees. Over the course of his Spalding career, he has held roles in strategic planning, curriculum development and review, and accreditation.

“I’m delighted that long-serving faculty member John Burden will move into the role of Spalding University’s new provost,” Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said. “He is highly respected by our faculty and brings a wealth of institutional knowledge to the position. Dr. Burden is a great teacher who understands the goals and dreams of both our faculty and our students as well as the day-to-day challenges they face. He has a strong devotion to Spalding, and our academic programs will be well-served by his leadership.”

Berryman is retiring as provost after three years in the position. Prior to that, she spent seven years as Dean of the Kosair Charities College of Health and Natural Sciences, overseeing nursing, occupational therapy, psychology, athletic training, social work and natural science programs.

Berryman will continue to work at Spalding as a consultant on projects and partnerships that she helped set in motion as provost, including several involving the university’s health sciences programs. She’s also expected to manage leadership training programs.

Berryman came to Spalding after establishing herself as one of the area’s most accomplished health care leaders. She is a former Senior Vice President of Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s HealthCare and was the CEO of Frazier Rehab Institute. She was named Louisville Business First’s 2019 Health Care Lifetime Hero.

“I can’t thank Joanne Berryman enough for her leadership and wisdom while serving as provost,” McClure said. “She is one of the preeminent leaders in health care in Louisville, and she has been a mentor to me and many others who work at Spalding. We are fortunate that Dr. Berryman isn’t going anywhere. In her consulting role, she will continue helping the university carry out its mission of teaching and service.”