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Curricular Design & Threads

Curriculum Design

The entry-level COT/ MOT curriculum is a developmental, occupation-centered model in which students construct knowledge that is scaffolded throughout their occupational therapy education. Application of occupational therapy theory, skills and knowledge is cultivated through the use of intentional and relevant experiences both in the classroom and in fieldwork. As educators, we facilitate interaction and collaboration and expect our students to be active participants in the educational experience as they develop the skills needed for occupational therapy practice.

We are guided by our mission to educate entry-level occupational therapists who are competent, ethical and client-centered practitioners trained to work with diverse populations within a variety of practice settings. Further, we view occupational therapists as practicing scholars who systematically seek and apply supporting evidence to assess and address barriers to participation. We believe our curriculum must guide students to engage in reflective and flexible thinking as appropriate to the individuals, groups and systems with which they work. We emphasize the importance of lifelong learning and the need to contribute to the expanding body of occupational therapy knowledge. We encourage our students to serve as leaders and to advocate for policies and programs that promote participation and enhanced quality of life for all clients.

Curriculum Design

Curricular Threads

I. Occupation Across the Life Course

Occupation is a basic human need that is complex and dynamic. It is both a medium for change and the means through which individuals can construct their personal and social identity. Through engaging in occupation, people can maintain a sense of who they are and develop a sense of who they wish to become. We embrace a transactional view of occupation in which individuals and their contexts are seen as inseparable, each influencing the other. These concepts are promoted throughout the curriculum in courses that address both the basic science foundations of human occupation as well as courses that facilitate students' understanding of how occupation provides meaning, promotes health, and enhances engagement throughout the lifespan.

II. Practicing Scholars

We promote a research-minded culture, broadly conceived as an attitude and an intellectual posture that fosters excellence and supports our profession and our clients through the discovery and application of sound evidence to practice. We believe that the best professional traditions derive from an engaged education; one that increases the student's ability to seek, discover, discuss and disseminate information. Our students are afforded opportunities throughout the curriculum to identify and critically appraise evidence in preparation for lifelong learning, continuous improvement and enhanced quality of care in all practice environments. Students are guided by faculty in the production of original research and collaborate with faculty and practitioners in answering research questions relevant to practice and the science of occupation.

III. Clinical and Professional Reasoning

We acknowledge that occupational therapy practice is both an art and a science requiring an expertise in clinical and professional reasoning, knowledge of the self, and an appreciation of the social world in which occupational therapy occurs. We encourage students to build on both prior and developing knowledge, relating personal, work, school, and volunteer experiences to new learning. We provide students the opportunity for critical thinking and reflection on newly acquired knowledge and on underlying assumptions and theories that shape practice. Through a combination of classroom and fieldwork experiences we immerse students in the world of professional practice.

IV. Social Justice

Our curriculum is designed with an emphasis on social justice and aims to empower students to appreciate and recognize the many inequities that exist in accessing services and resources. We believe that social justice requires action. Our students are supported to embrace diversity, value inclusion, engage in advocacy, and serve as change agents in the places in which they live and work.

V. Community Building

Community building is embedded throughout our curriculum. It begins in our classrooms and extends beyond our walls to the broader community. Relationships are fostered to explore, identify, and create information and experiences that are mutually beneficial. We cultivate leaders who are prepared to actively collaborate with the community through service, partnerships, and practice in local, national and global communities.

The Occupational Therapy Program is part of the School of Health Sciences, 313 Everett L. Marshall Building, 734.487.4096