Andrea Weid, MPA, OTRL
Academic Fieldwork Coordinator
373A Marshall Bldg, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
Our fieldwork program consists of three, semester long Level I experiences and two, 12 week Level II experiences. Level I fieldwork begins after two semesters of foundational content, allowing students to pull through, build on, & apply core knowledge with new settings encountered. In line with our developmental curriculum design each student will have a Level I experience with the childhood/adolescent population, one with the adult population and a final one with older adults. The timing of Level I experiences coincides with an assessment and intervention course to allow students to apply what they are learning in the classroom to the field.
Our Level I experiences are supplemented by an on-campus seminar to allow discussion, processing and assimilation of content from the classroom to the field and vice versa. The seminar uses a small group format led by an occupational therapy faculty member to encourage increased dialogue and engagement in the reflective process. The instructor is intentional about setting up a safe environment for discussion, knows the content from the associated courses, and is mindful of the various topics that must be woven into discussion throughout the semester. The small group seminar was intentional so students could deepen their understanding of themselves as a therapeutic agent, encourage wider participation in discussion and problem solving, while also being a forum for making links between the didactic and applied aspects of the curriculum. Additionally, student can learn about the role of occupational therapy and the OT process in a variety of settings through the shared learning experience with their peers. The smaller seminar design facilitates students to be active participants and is easier for the instructor to facilitate interaction and reflective thinking.
Level II fieldwork placements are determined using a collaborative process between the AFWC and the student, and are based on a reflection of Level I experiences along with an identification of practice settings/populations not yet experienced. In line with our curricular threads, it has been our program's long-standing practice to ensure that all students have a Level I or II placement in a mental health experience whenever possible. Recently, the faculty approved a formal position that a mental health experience is a priority, with a non-mental health psychosocial experience a second option, if no other mental health experience can be provided. If a student has not yet had a Level I experience in a mental health (or psychosocial) setting, these students are placed first for Level IIs.