Arie J. van Duijn, Ed.D.

Arie J. van Duijn

One of the best parts of my job is to see the impact our graduates have in the community. We’re filling a very important need.

Photo of Dr. Arie van Diujn


There are many ways in which health care is different in the Netherlands than it is here. For one, there are more physical therapists per capita in the Netherlands. So when Dr. Arie van Duijin and his wife—both physical therapists—wanted to broaden their horizons back in 1989, they came to Florida, a state with both a greater population than their homeland and a greater need for physical therapists.

 After years of working as a practicing clinician in Florida, Arie became aware that FGCU’s Marieb College of Health and Human Services was starting a physical therapy program. He worked with the founders of that program, first as a consultant and contractor then, after earning his Ed.D., as a full-time instructor.

 In the U.S., when you’re a physical therapist or a teacher of physical therapy, you can write your own ticket. “Physical therapy is ranked as one of the top professions for job growth. Every year FGCU doubles our program size and we still can’t meet the needs of the marketplace,” says Arie.

 So, if he can teach anywhere, why did he choose the Marieb College?

“Our curricular design is different than any other program I’m aware of. They say 50% of your knowledge base in this profession changes every five years. So instead of taking a lecture hall approach to teaching theory, FGCU uses a modified problem-based learning approach where students become more actively involved in their learning.”

 As he goes on to explain, “Instead of passively sitting in a lecture hall, they work in groups to go through patient cases. They determine what they already know about each case and figure out how to seek the information they still need to know to help the patient. This teaches them to become critical thinkers and continually learn new information so they’re never out of date.”

 Arie never stopped learning or pushing himself, so he’s passionate about instilling those same qualities in the next generation of physical therapists. As the industry continues to change, he’s determined to ensure his graduates are prepared to tackle every new development that comes their way throughout their careers.

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