History and Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education
Preparing professionals for innovative and reasoned practice and leadership
To provide exemplary education that prepares innovative occupational therapists
who support people participating in everyday life.
A Brief History of the OT Program at KU
The Department of Occupational Therapy Education joined the School in 1985, relocating its bachelor's degree curriculum from the Lawrence campus. In 1999 the department was approved to revise its curriculum to offer an entry-level Master of Occupational Therapy degree. Students enter the program as seniors and receive a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Studies before beginning graduate-level study.
The first class entered the MOT program in Summer, 2000. A doctoral program was added in 2001 – the PhD in Therapeutic Science – which is an interdisciplinary program for those wishing to pursue scholarly, research and academic options for their careers.
In 2007 the department began offering a new post professional degree, the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD), which offers a post-professional opportunity for those who wish to develop specialized skills for leadership in practice. Dr. Winifred Dunn was the first chair of the department when it moved to KUMC, and still chairs the program.
People learn through supported discovery and reflection
Best practice promotes participation in natural environments
Interdisciplinary collaboration enriches education and practice
People have the right and capacity to direct their own lives
Participation in everyday life is influenced by the interaction among person, tasks, and context
Producing and using evidence is essential for best practice
People have the innate capacity to change and adapt
Quality of life is dependent on engagement in occupation
Our entry-level professional MOT curriculum has been designed to encourage integrative learning. We have developed a series of nine Key Questions we feel are helpful in training Occupational Therapists, and nine Outcome Characteristics we strive to promote as we educate our students and future colleagues. We also have developed a visual summary of the MOT curriculum, illustrating the interrelation of these key concepts and coursework.
These are the Nine Big Picture questions our students will be asked to consider frequently during their coursework:
These are the Nine Characteristics our faculty believe are essential for our OT graduates:
How does engagement in occupation influence health and quality of life?
How does OT make unique contributions across various practice settings?
How do the principles of a given theory/model/framework guide my practice?
How do you plan and implement evaluation throughout the OT process?
How do you establish and maintain a person-centered approach?
How does clinical reasoning guide practice?
How do you select interventions to support participation in everyday life?
How does evidence support practice?
How are you developing and demonstrating your professional competence?
An open-mindedness; being willing to consider multiple perspectives.
An inquiring & curious attitude.
An understanding of the fundamentals that underlie Occupational Therapy practice.
An appreciation of occupation, ocupational beings, and context.
An ability to communicate the value of OT to others.
An understanding of how to navigate service systems and the value of this skill.
An understanding and valuing of other professionals.
An approach which values and demonstrates professionalism, including:
independent participation in the professional community
a commitment to continued competence
An ability to synthesize concepts, and to communicate them.