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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 masters and doctoral studies.

Philosophy

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.  (AJOT, 1979;1995)

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.

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.

Five 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:

1.  Enter the field ready to practice competently with autonomy and creativity
2.  Continue a course of scholarly inquiry as they practice the art and science of occupational therapy,
3.  Practice according to ethical principles that benefit clients individually and society as a whole,
4.  Provide leadership to the profession of occupational therapy, and
5.  Contribute to health care and social policies of the state, the nation, and the world.

 

page last updated 8/1/2014 12:09 PM