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July 2012



A View of Humanity

An Approach to Learning/Instruction

Statement of the Purpose

Curriculum Design

Educational Goals

Organizing Ideas

Learner Outcomes

Mission of the School of Occupational Therapy

        The School of Occupational Therapy accepts the responsibility of educating students, primarily women, of different ages and cultures to become occupational therapists who integrate and exemplify the philosophies, ethics, and standards of Texas Woman’s University and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
The curriculum exemplifies quality health related professional education inherent in the mission statement of Texas Woman’s University.  Students are assumed to enter the program with a liberal arts background from previous higher education experiences. We expect that graduates of the School of Occupational Therapy will evaluate the need for, plan and deliver health and wellness related occupational therapy services for populations within a variety of settings, and that they will assume leadership roles in professional associations, continuing education, and research. It is therefore our mission to provide educational opportunities that develop critical thinkers and reflective practitioners who combine the art and science of practice.
The School of Occupational Therapy is committed to an ongoing organized assessment of goals, methods, and the allocation of resources to meet the dynamic changes taking place within the occupational therapy profession and larger communities of state, nation, and world.  We resolve to support the research priorities as specified in the University Mission Statement. This resolve is demonstrated by emphasis on scholarly activities in the Master of Occupational Therapy program as well as post-professional master’s and doctoral studies.



        The philosophy of occupational therapy is grounded in beliefs about the occupational nature of humankind.  “Occupations are the ordinary and familiar things that people do every day.  This simple description reflects, but understates, the multidimensional and complex nature of daily occupation.” (Christiansen, Clark, Kielhofner & Rogers, 1995). 

Fundamental to the core of occupational therapy is a belief about the unity of mind and body; the integrative and adaptive capacities of human beings which are developed through purposeful interactions with the human and nonhuman environments; and the rights of human beings to a meaningful existence.

        Human life includes a process of continuous adaptation. Adaptation is a change in function that promotes survival and self-actualization. Biological, psychological, and environmental factors may interrupt the adaptation process at any time throughout the life cycle. Dysfunction may occur when adaptation is impaired.  Occupation is the means through which adaptation occurs and the end for which adaptation is desirable.  


A  View of Humanity


        The philosophical assumptions of the School of Occupational Therapy are based on a belief in the occupational nature of human beings. We believe that humans are active beings with individual needs and socio-cultural demands for self-care, work, play, and rest. The configuration or balance of these factors must be appropriate to the particular life stage and socio-cultural context of the individual to achieve optimal growth and development.

        We believe that each person has the potential to function as an integrated whole, interacting with other persons and with many environments. We believe that individuals have creative and adaptive capacities that flourish best in occupational environments that offer optimal levels of opportunity, challenge, and support.

        We recognize that occupational performance and roles may be disrupted by developmental delays, disease, and emotional or physical trauma, as well as by environmental factors. We understand occupational therapy as a dynamic process that uses occupation to elicit adaptation which enables clients to prevent as well as remediate dysfunction.  Thus, we assert that each individual has the right to a meaningful existence and that the individual has the right to seek maximum potential. We recognize that the full potential of occupation as a therapeutic tool requires increased research and knowledge development about humans, occupations, and occupational environments.  We believe that full societal participation is the goal of occupational performance.


An Approach to Learning/Instruction


        The professional level program provides an education that serves as the foundation for entry-level practice and further self-directed study. The School of Occupational Therapy prepares students to recognize the dynamic nature and variety of individuals, populations and environments that provide the context for occupational therapy intervention.

The program acknowledges that contextual diversity requires an educational program that prepares therapists who practice creatively, adaptively, and proactively in response to social and health care trends. It is essential that students reflectively and critically examine and deal with ongoing changes while maintaining lasting beliefs and principles on which the profession is based.

        The approach to education assumes that experience interacts with theoretical abstraction, and experiences are examined for meaning, hypothesis, and problem solution. In this approach, contexts for learning are critical. The teacher and students engage in an interactive process that facilitates identification and analysis of experiences and concepts leading to practical application. Theory and application are thus inextricable.

        We believe in multiple ways of knowing in pursuit of scholarly inquiry, creative analysis, and problem solving.  The faculty and students are encouraged to combine their own cultural and life experiences with those of others to expand their understanding of the knowledge base and its application within the diversity of practice.

        The curriculum is consistent with our philosophical belief that humans are active beings.  Thus, students are guided into becoming active in their own process of learning. Lectures and laboratories provide a knowledge basis for active exploration and consolidation through experiential and group learning, research, and field experience. In keeping with the philosophy of humanitarianism, the curriculum is designed to promote autonomy, reflection, inquiry, and problem-solving clinical reasoning, as well as caring and ethical integrity. Thus, the practice application and fieldwork experiences begin during the first year and continue throughout the curriculum.   In the practice application courses, cases are solved through collaborative group work.  The pace of presentation and discussion of cases is monitored to allow sufficient time for critical reflection and faculty availability to facilitate the clinical reasoning process.

The variety of ways of knowing and doing, necessary to be a reflective practitioner in occupational therapy, include the scientific, the artistic, and the ethical. To foster these kinds of knowledge, educational objectives are designed to demand graded mastery of sequences of skills in the following learning modes:

1.      acquire, appreciate, and value

2.      identify, recognize, and comprehend

3.      develop performance skills

4.      integrate knowledge and performance

5.      analyze and synthesize knowledge and performance with application


These learning modes occur within the context of each course with increasing sophistication

as students progress through each curriculum module.     

        Six modules organize the curriculum into sets of courses taught concurrently, with “strands” of courses taught longitudinally in a specific sequence to allow for increased levels of depth and intensity. We expect that students in each module actively engage in a coordinated learning environment that provides integrative experiences, including developing collaborative relationships with faculty, fellow students, and consumers.


Statement of the Purpose


The purpose of the School of Occupational Therapy is to produce reflective practitioners who will:

·        enter the field ready to practice competently with autonomy and creativity

·        continue a course of scholarly inquiry as they practice the art and science of occupational therapy,

·        practice according to ethical principles that benefit clients individually and society as a whole,

·        provide leadership to the profession of occupational therapy, and

·        contribute to health care and social policies of the state, the nation, and the world.


Curriculum Design


        Reflecting the missions of the University and the School, the curriculum (see Figures 1 - 3) is structured to provide an environment in which students from a variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and of varying ages and experiences, learn through interaction with a variety of individuals, materials, technologies, and ideas. The learning environment is designed to be consistent with the society within which graduates will live and practice.

        In keeping with the mission to educate individuals of different backgrounds and different needs, the curriculum is offered continuously throughout the year, including summers; this permits the student to progress through the curriculum in a timely manner.  So that individuals of very different backgrounds may have a common fund of knowledge for entering the occupational therapy curriculum, they are required to have completed all prerequisite courses.  To support the mission of preparing individuals to offer services in a variety of settings, the curriculum offers the opportunity to pursue special interests through a selection of a “special issues” course.


Educational Goals


        The educational program produces well-educated occupational therapists, promotes intellectual and professional development of faculty, and enhances the stature of the School of Occupational Therapy at TWU as a center of excellence.  The following statements summarize the desired effect of the curriculum on students and faculty

1.      acquire a desire for continued development of knowledge;

2.      gainan understanding of and a commitment to occupation and adaptation as the primary guiding principles of intervention;

3.      demonstrate essential practice skills that serve as the basis for ongoing professional development and refinement;

4.      interact and communicate with recipients of service in ways that facilitate therapeutic goals, and with other professionals in ways that foster mutual respect;

5.      identify with the field of occupational therapy to produce a professional commitment characterized by active promotion of its ideals and heritage, awareness of the forces that may impact it, and leadership in the organizations that seek to maintain its integrity.


Organizing Ideas


        Three broad-based organizing ideas provide the infrastructure for the curriculum. The first of these organizing ideas is our understanding that "elements of the profession" serve as the primary building block for the curriculum content and the expected learner outcomes. Faculty have identified elements of the profession that undergird this curriculum as core beliefs, analysis of persons in contexts, professionalism and scholarship. The curriculum then emerges from this representation of elements of the profession. (See Figure 1, “Instructional Framework”).


































       The second organizing idea is demonstrated in the structure of our occupational therapy curriculum content. (See Figure 2, “Curriculum Content”).  The curriculum contains three broad areas of content, hereafter referred to as the "Curriculum Domains”.  These three domains are Foundations of Practice, Occupation, and Process. Within each domain, there are two "strands" of content that run longitudinally through the curriculum for a total of six strands. 





























Foundations of Practice: Fundamental principles and concepts that support practice of occupational therapy


Knowledge Bases Strand:  Fundamental concepts involving the application of basic sciences and the art of occupation that undergird and define the profession


Scholarly Inquiry strand: Principles and processes of entry level scholarship including the ability to critically interpret professional literature as it applies to clinical practice.


Occupation Domain: Engagement in occupation and the factors that influence adaptation, performance and participation across the lifespan.


Occupational Participation Strand: In-depth exploration into the essential principles of occupational performance and adaptation which includes critical analysis of occupational choices, habits, routines, and lifestyles as well as the major conditions that impact well being and performance across the lifespan.


Occupational Performance and Adaptation:  Application of specific evaluations, treatment techniques and occupation based interventions using clinical reasoning skills to make educated decisions regarding appropriate treatment methods leading to desired outcomes including adaptation, improved performance, and participation


Process Domain: Application of therapeutic use of self and specific tools of practice for professional reasoning and fieldwork


Tools and Modalities Strand:  Therapeutic use of occupations, environments, materials and self, including specialized activities and practice tools, across contexts and populations to effect change.


Professional Reasoning and FW Strand: Synthesis of professional reasoning and structured participation in occupational therapy settings to facilitate entry into the profession.


        The domains and related strands are woven into semester modules that represent sets of courses presented concurrently.  Each strand demands increasingly more complex and interrelated synthesis over the series of modules. The curriculum content organization reflects the School’s intent to facilitate integrative learning and the progressive practice of curriculum content in classroom, laboratory, and fieldwork settings.  In Figure 2, the vertical dashed lines between the Curriculum Domains reflect permeable boundaries that permit content to flow between Domains. The horizontal arrow trajectories begin at the module designation to reflect previous experiences and learning that the student brings to each module.  The trajectories continue across the strands with the professional reasoning and fieldwork experience providing the primary opportunity for integrative learning in each module.

    The third organizing idea is represented by Figure 3, “Learner Outcomes”.  A set of  learner outcomes  has been identified at completion of each semester module.  These outcomes are the result of the set of courses that provide opportunities for integrative learning experiences within the module.  The learner outcomes are a combination of the wide range of knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired from the content contained within that module. The cumulative effect of the progressively complex learner outcomes will prepare a student for entry into the profession upon successful completion of Module VI (Fieldwork II). 



American Occupational Therapy Association (2011). The philosophical base of occupational therapy, The

    American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65(Suppl.), S65. Doi: 10.5014/ajot.2011.65S65





Figure 3 – Learner Outcomes


        Within each module students develop competencies which serve as a foundation for the learning outcomes. Four concepts serve to describe the learning outcomes, 1) professional values, 2) professional knowledge, 3) professional performance skills, and 4) clinical reasoning.  The progression of learning outcomes from Module 1 through Module 6 specifies how each of the four concepts has been expanded and refined at the completion of each module.

        To assess student progress on learner outcomes module exams are administered within the final four weeks of Modules 2-5.  Each module exam is collaboratively written by the instructors of all the courses in that module.  The exam is no more than 25% of the course requirement for:


OT 5823               Module 2

OT 5833               Module 3

OT 5843               Module 4

OT 5853               Module 5


Module 1

Understand and value the professions’ foundational knowledge, beliefs and concepts.  Recognize and employ the professions’ language needed to communicate the analysis and evaluation of persons, occupations, and contexts.  Recognize the foundation of research in enhancing interventions as well as sustaining and advancing the profession.


Module 2

Apply occupational therapy and other practice models of intervention as they relate to an expanded understanding of the process of occupational performance for adolescents and young adults.  Apply and document professional reasoning to complete the occupational therapy process for practice and research.


Module 3

Apply occupational therapy and other practice models of intervention as they relate to an expanded understanding of the process of occupational performance of persons with mental health disorders and at risk populations in the community.  Apply the occupational process to health promotion and wellness.


Module 4:

Apply occupational therapy and other practice models of intervention as they relate to an expanded understanding of the process of occupational performance for middle through older adults. Apply and document the professional reasoning process for practice including safe and efficacious use rehabilitation technology. Articulate principles of management and health care systems administration.


Module 5:

Apply occupational therapy and other practice models of intervention as they relate to an expanded understanding of the process of occupational performance for infants and children. Apply and document the professional reasoning process for practice including safe and efficacious use assistive and computer technology. Synthesis of professional skills, and readiness to engage in practice through guided fieldwork experience.


Module 6

Display continuous and sustained entry level performance in application of the occupational therapy process within a variety of client conditions and contexts.

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