Western University of Health Sciences’ own Marijean Piorkowski, a

doctoral candidate in the College of Allied Health Professions’ Doctor of

Physical Therapy (DPT) program and longtime faculty member at Cerritos

Community College, was recently honored as Teacher of the Year by the

California Association for Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED).

Presented annually, the award is given to an outstanding

instructor who recognizes their responsibility for the education of all

learners and has made extraordinary efforts to meet the academic needs of

students with disabilities in the classroom through the use of innovative

instructional techniques and accommodations.

As department chair of Cerritos College’s Physical Therapist

Assistant program and chair of the college’s Curriculum Committee,

Piorkowski has been instrumental in ensuring that classroom instruction

is attentive to the needs of disability students in all courses,

particularly distance education. Because of her work, all new distance

education classes at the community college must address the accessibility

issue for students with disabilities.

Prior to entering Western University’s DPT program (which confers

doctorate degrees to licensed physical therapists and students seeking

their first professional degree) in January 2003, Piorkowski had been

considering a transitional doctorate program that would accommodate her

full-time work schedule. She practices physical therapy at both Torrance

Memorial and Long Beach Memorial Hospitals. “”Western’s transitional DPT

program with its distance education base and its convenient Southern

California location is perfect for my schedule and learning style,”” she

said. “”I have thoroughly enjoyed the classes and I appreciate the

excellent faculty of the program.””

“”The Teacher of the Year award Marijean received demonstrates

the caliber of student in our DPT program,”” commented Dr. Donna Redman-

Bentley, chair of the physical therapy department in the College of

Allied Health Professions.