Welcome to Arkansas State University!

Occupational Therapy Doctorate

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (O.T.D)


College: College of Nursing and Health Professions

Department: Occupational Therapy

Dr. Pamela Kipkulei and Dr. Topeka Small present at AOTA

PROGRAM PHILOSOPHY

In concert with the beliefs and values expressed by the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Arkansas State University Department of Occupational Therapy’s philosophy is grounded in the Theory of Occupational Adaptation.  Occupational therapy engages clients through the use of occupations to develop or return to meaningful activities that they want or need to do. (AOTA, 2018)   https://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy.aspx.  It is our belief that in order to engage in meaningful occupations, human beings must have the ability to adapt to circumstances that present challenges or barriers to participation. 

MISSION

The Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Arkansas State University is committed to the development of exceptionally safe, ethical and culturally aware practitioners, life-long learners, advocates, leaders, and scholars who will focus on the unique needs of local communities, the state of Arkansas, the lower Mississippi Delta region and beyond.

VISION

We envision graduates from the Department of Occupational Therapy at Arkansas State University who are leaders that possess the knowledge and skills to advocate for and implement occupational therapy services that improve the health, well-being and quality of life of those served in the Mississippi delta and surrounding regions.

PROGRAM OUTCOMES

Upon completion of the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at Arkansas State University, graduates will:

  • Use professional reasoning to name and frame clinical situations in order to provide evidence and occupation-based interventions.
  • Develop and carry out entry-level scholarship.
  • Provide intervention that is ethically, socially, economically, politically, and environmentally relevant to individuals and populations in the lower Mississippi delta region and beyond.
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities of OTA and OT practitioners to create collaborative partnerships in all settings.
  • Develop prevention, health and wellness programs for local, state, and regional populations.
  • Use cultural awareness strategies to administer appropriate interventions for all persons.
  • Promote the vision of Occupational Therapy as a diverse, equitable and inclusive profession.
  • Apply leadership program development and assessment knowledge and skills to develop and implement a capstone doctoral experience.
  • Understand and apply the core competencies of intra and inter-professional practice.
  • Understand how social determinants of health can contribute to both occupational deprivation and occupational  justice.

 

  • Admission Requirements

    The Arkansas State University Occupational Therapy Doctoral program is highly competitive. We admit no more than 30 students per year for a three year matriculation sequence.

    Applicants will complete all documents and submit them to the OTD Chair for review by the Admissions Committee. Application to the Graduate School and acceptance is required prior to OTD program admission.  All application materials must be sent to: 

    Dr. Christine Wright, Department Chair and OTD Program Director
    Arkansas State University-Jonesboro
    College of Nursing and Health Professions
    Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program
    PO Box 910
    State University, AR 72467

    To be considered as an applicant, all applications must be completed and submitted by:  February 1st.

    Students will be notified by email regarding acceptance status: March 31st.  

    Applicants not admitted during the current admission period are eligible to reapply in the next review period.

    In order to be eligible for application to the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, the following requirements must be met:

    • Admission to the Graduate School at Arkansas State University - Jonesboro 
    • Earned a Baccalaureate degree from an accredited University or College
    • Official transcripts from ALL post-high school institutions
    • Completed program prerequisites with a minimum of  a “B” grade on all courses 
    • Earned prerequisite and cumulative GPA's of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale for all college work
    • Meet English proficiency requirements, if foreign born
    • Three pre-professional recommendations (see admission packet for forms)

    *Note: The GRE and observation hours are NOT required in order to apply.  We do not accept unsolicited letters of recommendation.  Applicants should only use the pre-professional recommendation forms included in the application packet.

    Students admitted to any College of Nursing and Health Professions program must meet professional course requirements stated in the A-State Graduate Bulletin. 

    Evidence of the following is required before registering for any professional fieldwork:

    1. CPR certification valid through the academic year
    2. TB skin tests if required by fieldwork facility
    3. Evidence of Hepatitis B immunization or signed declination statement
    4. Copy of valid health insurance
    5. Copy of professional liability insurance (minimum of one million in coverage)
    6. Background check

    Prerequisite Courses

    IMPORTANT: Satisfactory completion with a letter grade of B or higher in all prerequisite courses AND a 3.0 prerequisite GPA on a 4.0 scale are required for admission to the OTD program.

    • Medical Terminology (1-3 credits)
    • Anatomy & Physiology I (4 credits - Must include lab)
    • Anatomy & Physiology II (4 credits - Must include lab)
    • Applied or General Physics (3 credits)
    • Applied Statistics (3 credits)
    • General Psychology (or Introduction to Psychology) (3 credits)
    • Developmental Psychology (or Lifespan Development) (3 credits)
    • Abnormal Psychology (3 credits)

    Advanced placement:

    The admissions process for the Occupational Therapy Doctoral program requires letter grades to determine overall and prerequisite GPA's, therefore AP exam scores will be calculated in the following manner: Exam scores of 3 or above are three credits at a grade level of B.

    Credit for experiential learning or work experience:

    Experiential learning and prior work experience are not accepted as substitutes for academic requirements.

    Transfer students:

    Transfer students will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Students that are currently enrolled in another accredited OTD program may apply to the AState OTD program using the regular admissions process.  Should a transfer student by admitted to the AState OTD program, up to nine graduate credit hours may be used to satisfy degree requirements of the OTD.  The OT department admissions committee reviews syllabi from previous OT program and determines which courses meet AState OTD standards.  The OT department admissions committee and AState graduate school determine if a student may transfer.

  • Program Accreditation and Matriculation

    Accreditation

    The A-State entry-level doctoral degree program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200, North Bethesda, MD 20852-4929. For more information please contact ACOTE by phone at (301) 652-AOTA or visit www.acoteonline.org.  The OTD program will undergo reaccreditation in 2024/2025.

    Matriculation

    The OTD program is a lock-step program. Students must maintain satisfactory grades in each semester; otherwise the student can be placed on probation or dismissed from the program. The OTD Program requires timely completion of the all degree requirements, including all didactic coursework, Level II Fieldwork rotations, OTKE exam for third-year entry and Capstone.  To progress in the professional curriculum, students must: 

    1. Maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all Occupational Therapy Program courses,
    1. Receive grades of 75% or better in all professional courses,
    1. Maintain academic integrity and professional behavior in classroom, laboratory, any fieldwork sites visited, and in the community,
    1. Maintain the standards of affiliating fieldwork facilities, and
    1. Exhibit affective behaviors consistent with the Professional Behavior Expectations and AOTA Code of Ethics.

  • Fieldwork, Program Completion, Graduation and Certification Requirements

    Fieldwork Requirements

    Level 1

    The curriculum includes three (3) Level I fieldworks, allowing the student to acquire 40 hours of clinical experience in each of the following areas: pediatrics, psychosocial and aging adults. The Level 1 fieldworks support students’ integration of learned information to applied clinical contexts.  Fieldwork assignments are designed to foster students in developing clinical reasoning skills and to develop knowledge about the principles of occupation. Level I experiences are integral to the curriculum design and include direct observation and participation in selected aspects of care.  Level I experiences may relate to occupational therapy service delivery, or they may be under the supervision of related professionals in emerging practice areas.

    Level II

    The curriculum also includes two (2) Level II fieldworks each 12 weeks in length.  Students are at fieldwork sites full-time during Level II experiences.    Level II Fieldwork is designed to facilitate the student’s personal and professional development. The integration and application of clinical reasoning and practical skills will be required in both of the Level II experiences, during which students will provide occupational therapy services to a range of individuals. The fieldwork experiences are provided at approved facilities with supervision to meet professional accreditations standards. Students are responsible for all aspects of the occupational therapy process during the Level II experiences.

    Students are responsible for all fieldwork expenses.

    The student must successfully complete all coursework and Level II fieldwork and pass a pre-NBCOT competency practice examination requirement prior to the commencement of the doctoral experiential component.

    Capstone

    The third-level of fieldwork is called Capstone and affords students with a final learning experience in clinical practice, research, theory, leadership, program development, policy development, advocacy or education.  Capstone is a minimum of 14-weeks or 560 hours and must occur under the supervision of a mentor with expertise in the area of the Capstone. Prior fieldwork or work experience may not be substituted for Capstone.  Capstone may not occur at a student' place of employment.  Capstone is student driven and provides the opportunity to apply didactic knowledge, leadership and advocacy skills in an area of interest. Students participate in two capstone preparation courses to develop their capstone project. The semester leading up to the Capstone rotation focuses on above-generalist content in order to round out the student skills for the capstone experience. 

    **Students are responsible for all fieldwork and Capstone expenses.

    Program completion and Graduation

    To graduate from the program, students must achieve a final grade of 75% or higher on all didactic courses, have a 3.0 overall GPA and pass all three fieldwork levels in the curriculum.

    Students have up to 24 months after completion of the didactic coursework to complete both Level II Fieldwork rotations and Capstone experience. Timely completion of the program is monitored by the student and his/her faculty advisor using the OTD Program Graduation Check Sheet.

    Certification and Licensure

    NBCOT Certification Exam Procedures

    Graduates of our program are eligible to sit for the National Certification Examination for Occupational Therapy, administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). After successful completion of the exam, the individual will be a registered Occupational Therapist (OTR).
    (NBCOT Exam Handbook -  https://www.nbcot.org/-/media/NBCOT/PDFs/Cert_Exam_Handbook.ashx?la=en)

    To be eligible to take the NBCOT certification exam, “OTR candidates must graduate with an entry-level occupational therapy degree from an ACOTE®-accredited occupational therapy (OT) program.” (https://www.nbcot.org/Students/get-certified#eligibility) 

    NBCOT® Academic Credential Verification Policy U.S. graduates examining for the first time must submit an official final transcript from the university that confirms eligibility for admission to the examination.

    Licensure in the State of Arkansas

    In addition, all states require licensure in order to practice; however, state licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT Certification Examination. The Arkansas State University OTD Program school code is 30508.

    Felony Conviction Statement

    **A felony conviction may affect a graduate’s ability to sit for the NBCOT certification examination or attain state licensure.**

  • Tuition and Fees
  • Learning Philosophy and Curriculum Design

    Arkansas State University
    Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program
    Philosophy and Curriculum Design

    The philosophy and curriculum design are based on a narrative meta-model.  A narrative meta-model is predicated on the assumptions that learning is:

    • Non-linear
    • Evolving
    • Competency fluid
    • Constructivist
    • Process and performance over finished work (AOTA, 2009)

    The four core documents that create the foundation of our narrative meta-model are the Theory of Occupational Adaptation (Schkade and Schultz, 1992), the OT-PEP Professional Education Paradigm (Wright, 2012), Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002) and the Spatiotemporal Adaptation model (Gilfoyle, Grady, and Moore, 1990).

    Context of the Institution

    our institution.

    Arkansas State University (AState) is nestled in the northeast corner in close proximity to the “boot heel” of southeast Missouri and northwest corner of Tennessee.  Jonesboro, Arkansas is located in the lower Mississippi delta region of the United States forged from an agrarian past with key present industries of manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, professional services, and agri-business (http://www.jonesborounlimited.com/key-industries).  Arkansas State University plays a vital role in producing a workforce for the lower delta region and beyond.  The mission of AState is to “educate leaders, enhance intellectual growth and enrich lives” (https://www.astate.edu/a/student-conduct/files/_Student%20Handbook_1819.pdf).

    our college.

    The history of AState began as agricultural and mechanical but in 1969 the nursing program was instituted and in 1982 the College of Nursing and Health Professions (CoNHP) came into existence.  The college now boasts 30 undergraduate and graduate degrees through a wide variety of programs, departments, and the school of Nursing (http://www.astate.edu/info/about-asu/history/historic-timeline/).

     “The mission of the College of Nursing and Health Professions is to provide quality education to students, graduates and health care providers in a variety of health disciplines.  Recognizing its unique position in the lower Mississippi Delta region, the College provides educational programs designed to promote lifelong learning based on the expressed needs of its varied constituencies.  The College assesses the attainment of this mission in terms of the contributions its graduates make to health and health care in the Delta region and beyond (http://www.astate.edu/college/conhp/).

    our program.

    Occupational therapy is second newest department in the college of Nursing and Health Professions.  The department houses both OTA and OTD programs.  The genesis of the OTD program began in 2015.  The first OTD class graduated in August 2018 and successful classes continue to graduate each year.

    Profession’s philosophy, vision and trends

    The practice of Occupational Therapy is guided by the fundamental principles articulated in the Philosophical Base of Occupational Therapy (2017).  Five specific principles frame the philosophy of AState occupational therapy. 

    • Persons are born with an internal drive to participate in meaningful occupations.
    • Participation is an essential element of health. Health and wellness are the building blocks of adaptation. 
    • The outcome of occupational engagement is a fluid experience due to the micro and macroscopic changes of internal individual drive, contextual conditions, and qualities of the occupation.
    • Occupation is the cornerstone for “health promotion and wellness, remediation and restoration, health maintenance, disease and injury prevention, and compensation and adaptation”.
    • It is essential to understand the impact of occupation at the individual, community, and population levels (Commission on Education, 2017, p. 1).

    Profession’s education philosophy, vision and trends

    The American Occupational Therapy Association’s Philosophy of Occupational Therapy Education (2018) influenced the development process of the program’s philosophy, mission, and vision through:

    • The fundamental belief that both curriculum and pedagogy are necessary to fully articulate a program’s view of students engaged in a process to learn
      about humans as occupational beings where participation is a right and affects
      a person’s health.
    • The fundamental belief that “education promotes clinical reasoning and the integration of professional values, theories, evidence, ethics, and skills.
    • The fundamental belief that education is the way students acquire their professional identity.

    And our program’s philosophy, mission and vision mirror the values of occupational therapy education by:

    • Including a “client-centered, occupation based, and theory driven” clinical reasoning process.
    • Using “best evidence and outcomes data” to drive teaching and learning decisions.
    • Designing a curriculum that includes “active and diverse learning” in and out of the classroom.
    • Developing learning that is collaborative and builds on previous knowledge
    • Creating opportunities for students to self-reflect, evaluate, and use professional judgment
    • Promoting life-long learning (AOTA, 1)

    The Occupational Therapy Doctoral program at Arkansas State University affirms the aforementioned professional and educational beliefs and values as articulated by the American Occupational Therapy Association. 

    Program’s philosophy, mission and vision

                philosophy.    

    In concert with the beliefs and values expressed by the American Occupational Therapy Association, the Arkansas State University Department of Occupational Therapy’s philosophy is grounded in the Theory of Occupational Adaptation.  Occupational therapy engages clients through the use of occupations to develop or return to meaningful activities that they want or need to do. (AOTA, 2018)   https://www.aota.org/about-occupational-therapy.aspx.  It is our belief that in order to engage in meaningful occupations, human beings must have the ability to adapt to circumstances that present challenges or barriers to participation.  The Theory of Occupational Adaptation informs us about the way occupational beings adapt.  The authors of Occupational Adaptation based the theory on two assumptions:

    • Occupation provides the means by which human beings adapt to changing needs and conditions, and the desire to participate in occupation is the intrinsic motivational force leading to adaptation.

    • Occupational adaptation is a normative process that is most pronounced in periods of transition, both large and small. The greater the adaptive transitional needs, the greater the importance of the occupational adaptation process, and the greater the likelihood that the process will be disrupted (Schkade and Schultz, 1992).

    how occupational beings adapt.

    • Combination of a person’s internal desire for mastery and external demand for mastery creates a press for mastery.
    • Press for mastery creates an occupational challenge that the occupational being combines with their occupational role expectation.
    • An occupational being considers their internal adaptive repertoire in order to create an adaptive response. The adaptive response then becomes an occupational response.
    • If an occupational being’ internal adaptive repertoire is sufficient for a task, the occupational response occurs without stress.
    • If the occupational response is evaluated as masterful, then it will be integrated into the internal adaptive repertoire for use again.
    • Occupational beings can use existing, modified, or new adaptive responses to address an occupational challenge.
    • An occupational being becomes dysadaptive when their internal adaptive repertoire is insufficient to overcome the occupational challenge.

    In order to graduate leaders that enrich the lives of others in the Mississippi delta region through their knowledge and skills to advocate for and implement occupational therapy services, graduates must learn about the occupational adaptation process, help each other develop internal adaptive repertoires, and lead each other through the occupational adaptation process that is the OTD program.  

    occupational adaptation model.

    https://www.slideshare.net/mpaskevi/practicalities-of-contributing-to-open-educational-resources-oer

                mission.

    The Department of Occupational Therapy in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Arkansas State University is committed to the development of exceptionally safe, ethical and culturally aware practitioners, life-long learners, advocates, leaders, and scholars who will focus on the unique needs of local communities, the state of Arkansas, the lower Mississippi Delta region and beyond.

    Within the Department of Occupational Therapy, we embrace the mission of the University and the College of Nursing and Health Professions in our desire to develop graduates who enrich the lives of others through the health and healthcare of citizens in the rural lower Mississippi Delta region.

    The Department of Occupational Therapy seeks to:

    • Provide high quality didactic and practical educational experiences that transmits occupation and evidence-based knowledge to program graduates.
    • Meet and exceed academic standards.
    • Provide clinical experiences in both traditional and emerging practice areas to produce graduates capable of meeting society’s needs.
    • Strengthen Occupational Therapy services in the region through strong community partnerships.
    • Contribute to the Occupational Therapy body of knowledge through student and faculty scholarly activities.
    • Model professional behavior expectations through active participation in Department, College, University, and professional organizations

             vision.

    We envision graduates from the Department of Occupational Therapy at Arkansas State University who are leaders that possess the knowledge and skills to advocate for and implement occupational therapy services that improve the health, well-being and quality of life of those served in the Mississippi delta and surrounding regions.

    Philosophical Frame for Learning

    As described in the Occupational Therapy Model Curriculum (AOTA, 2009), “a philosophical frame for learning is a set of beliefs about the processes by which people learn and change” (p. 58).  The four core documents used to frame our learning philosophy are the OT-PEP Professional Education Paradigm (Wright, 2012), Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2010), the Spatiotemporal Adaptation Theory by Gilfoyle, Grady, and Moore (1990) and the Theory of Occupational Adaptation (Schkade and Schultz, 1992)

    Kielhofner wrote that a paradigm “allows therapists to understand, in a very broad way, what they are doing when they practice” (p. 10).  The OT-PEP emerged from the Occupational Therapy body of knowledge to reveal, in a very broad way, what educators are doing and students are becoming in the program.

    OT-PEP Model.

    • Defines and describes the fundamental tenets of the occupational therapy education process.
    • Explains what faculty are doing/creating when they teach.
    • Provides a foundation for curriculum design, teaching methods, course sequence, etc.
    • Both faculty and students are learners, each proceeds through the paradigm simultaneously, and both groups increase their internal adaptive repertoires as they go through the OT-PEP.
    • The OT-PEP describes the elements of the education process that are reflective of the philosophical underpinnings of the profession and brings together these understandings as a unified whole.
    • The learners are at the center of the paradigm with the three core concepts and their respective elements interlaced to form a framework for occupational therapy education.
    • All of the core concepts and corresponding elements can and do occur simultaneously.
    • The OT-PEP is deliberately circular and circuitous by nature.
    • The internal adaptive repertoire of a learner can be measured both at a specific point in time and longitudinally.

    Core concept: Adaptive thinking.

    Three elements emerged from the synthesis of the literature on adaptive thinking as a process.  The first element of adaptive thinking is action.  Action is the process of doing.  Action is important for the learner on two levels.  First, action serves to build an adaptive thinking frame that is broad and deep: a frame that encourages flexibility and adaptability over the right answer.  Second, action provides a sense of agency between an individual and society.  Modern society, with its thirst for technology, information and scientific discovery, is not content with a homeostatic milieu.  Therefore, an active thinking frame allows for longitudinal preparation that is congruent with society’s continual road of discovery. 

    The second element of adaptive thinking is time. Two perspectives of time need to be considered.  The first perspective is the vertical element or slice of time.  The vertical perspective is an opportunity for specific acquisition: an opportunity to integrate past experience into the present learning environment.  The second perspective is the horizontal element in which acquired experiences are used for present and future events.  The horizontal perspective of time acknowledges the life span of the person and the evolution of a learner’ thinking process as their cache of experiences increases.

    The third element of the adaptive thinking process is organization.  Bruner (1986) proposes two modes of thought organization that he names “logico-scientific” and “narrative” (p. 12). The logico-scientific mode is steeped in cause and effect.  The narrative mode is about creating a story.  Bruner argues that each mode of thought organization is neither superior nor inferior to one another and that neither one should be relied on exclusively.  Ross Upshur (2001) supports Bruner’ position: 

    Evidence in health care is neither exclusively abstract, mathematical, and general nor narrative and particular, but is a mediation and interaction of both types of knowledge.  Clearly, in the complex world of medical care, it is unlikely that one criterion or form of reasoning will be effective in all instances. (p. 11)

    Schwartz (1991) proposes that all forms of reasoning should be taught and that personal experiences and other illustrations provide the means to which knowing is connected.

     Core concept: Reflection.

     The first element of reflection is naming and framing, a concept developed by Donald Schon (1983) as a way to describe how professionals assess a situation.  Naming and framing allows the learner to predicate reflections on their understanding of an event or activity and its context. The ability to analyze and articulate a situation is at the core of occupational therapy process. 

    The second element of reflection is tolerance for ambiguity.  “The problems of real-world practice do not present themselves to practitioners as well-formed structures.  Indeed, they tend not to present themselves as problems at all but as messy, indeterminate situations” (Schon, 1987, p. 4).  Engagement in the reflective process, therefore, provides the learner with a tool that can provide clarity for the present experience as well as for future experiences. The entire reflective process can cease if the learner cannot incorporate ambiguity. A learner’ understanding of ambiguity as a normal and unavoidable part of the education process is invaluable for appropriate facilitation.

    The third element of reflection is building repertoire. “In the context of professional education, however, the concept of reflection has a specific meaning, relating to a complex and deliberate process of thinking about and interpreting experience in order to learn from it” (Atkins & Murphy, 1995).  Inferences gleaned from this definition suggest that engagement in the process of reflection aids in the development of a storehouse or repertoire of experiences.   In education process it is important to incorporate a learner’s past experiences and provide experiences that expand the learners’ repertoire.  Both didactic and clinical phases of a curriculum are crucial to building an inclusive repertoire.  Reflection on these new circumstances challenges old patterns of behavior and provides the opportunity to develop new patterns.

     Core concept: Creation of meaning.

    The third and final core concept in the process of education is the creation of meaning.  Creation of meaning is a vital, yet often overlooked link in the education process.

    Bruner (1990) describes how creation of meaning lost favor over time.  “Very early on, for example, emphasis began shifting from ‘meaning’ to ‘information,’ from ‘construction’ of meaning to the ‘processing’ of information” (p. 4).  The shift from construction of meaning to processing information contributes to a learning environment that thrives on finding the “right” answer.  Spence (2001) speaks to the need for a return to the creation of meaning.  “This burgeoning student body does not need to learn more facts, but how to think, decide, judge, create and learn” (p. 12).  

    The first element in creation of meaning is plugging into repertoire.  Persons build their repertoire from birth.  However, plugging into repertoire requires conscious awareness.  According to King (1978), “an adaptive response cannot be imposed, it must actively be created” (p. 432).  Engagement in the education process must call forth an active response by the learner to determine if their existing repertoire is sufficient, if existing modes need to be modified, or if new modes need to be developed to incorporate experiences.  The determination of an appropriate mode of response bridges the gap between merely building repertoire and plugging into repertoire.

    The second element of creation of meaning is consciousness of craft.  Reagan (1993) defines this concept as “whenever the expert or novice in any craft adopts the standards of the craft as his or her own” (p. 194).  Although creation of meaning will have individual variability, professional education provides a framework of discipline specific language, concepts and ideologies.  Shepherd and Jensen (1990) call consciousness of craft the “implicit curriculum.”  This unspoken curriculum includes “values, beliefs and expectations that are passed down from academic and clinical faculty members to their students” (p. 568).  Yerxa (1966) defined consciousness of craft in occupational therapy.  “Professional authenticity in occupational therapy means that the occupational therapist in every professional act defines the profession” (p. 8).  Therefore, by knowing what we are about when we act, we perpetuate our core philosophies with confidence.  Consciousness of craft provides an invaluable link as the learner transitions between academic and professional contexts.

    The third element of creation of meaning is narrative.  Bruner (1996) acknowledges that by telling what a story is about a person expresses their understanding of an experience.  They are incorporating an array of input from the environment and creating a meaningful whole.  Point of view is an important consideration of narrative.  The learner will be engaged in creating narratives from their own experiences.  Their stories will include personal values and biases.  However, interpretation of other narratives is essential for the advancement of the learner.  Consideration of alternative, even opposing, points of view enriches the contextual fabric of the learner’s framework.

    Bloom’s revised taxonomy.

    the upward spiral.

    Bloom’s revised taxonomy is pictured as an upward spiral to demonstrate our belief that learning is also a developmental process that builds on prior knowledge and experience.  Skill-based behaviors and foundational knowledge translates, over time, to internalized professional behaviors and clinical application that can be continuously analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated to perpetuate professional development.  The spiral also represents learning as an active process where the learner has the potential to engage in all levels of the spiral simultaneously depending on experience with a topic.   

    developmental adaptation.

    Embedded inside the spiral are the last two models.  First is the Spatiotemporal Adaptation Theory by Gilfoyle, Grady, and Moore (1990).  The following seven principles come from Spatiotemporal Adaptation Theory (Appendix 10 – A, p. 275).

    1. Development is a function of maturation that occurs through the process of person-environment adaptation. Therefore, students cannot be expected to bypass any of the stages of the spiral.  A student can only mature by experiencing the curriculum in sequence, moving from knowing to evaluating, and expanding their repertoire to included transitional and mature behaviors.
    2. Adaptation is contingent on attention to and active participation with purposeful events within the spatiotemporal dimensions of the environment. Principle two reinforces our belief in providing an education experience that includes active “real-world” experiences. 
    3. Purposeful events provide meaningful experiences for the enhancement of maturation by directing a higher level of adaptive response by the “doer”. All classes, labs, fieldtrips, fieldworks, and scholarly activities are designed to provide meaningful experiences that help the “doer” retain the information for application, synthesis, analysis, and evaluation.
    4. Higher responses result from integration with and modification of acquired lower level responses. One cannot analyze, synthesize, or evaluate without knowing, comprehending, and applying.  Principle four supports a program where attendance is mandatory for maximum student success.
    5. Adaptation spirals through primitive, transitional, and mature phases of development occurring at the same time with different learning. Principle five suggests that at any given time a person can be at simultaneously at multiple points on the spiral as new information and more familiar information is presented.  Principle five also supports the program’s activity of presenting concepts multiple times in multiple ways for maximum internalized maturity.   
    6. Environmental experiences may present situations of spatiotemporal stress. With stress, the system calls forth past acquired strategies and sequences to act upon the demands of the environment and maintain the system’s homeostasis.  Thus acquired strategies and sequences are adapted with the present situation to direct higher-level responses. Gradual spatiotemporal stress is necessary in education in order for students to move from primitive behaviors to mature behaviors.  In occupational therapy this is known as the “just right challenge”.  Creating more difficulty in tests, assignments, labs, etc. must be done incrementally so that a student does not become overwhelmed and can gradually adapts existing learning strategies or create new strategies to be successful.  Thus, the curriculum is designed with more structured courses in beginning moving forward each semester with courses that require higher and higher levels of integration. 
    7. Spatiotemporal distress provokes behaviors that result in dysadaptation. Spatiotemporal stress can become distress when persons are unwilling or unable to move away from primitive strategies.  Distress then becomes dysadaptation when persons try to apply primitive strategies to every situation.  Such dysadaptation is a result of delayed or absent development which is why the curriculum is designed developmentally in order to try to avoid dysadaptive behaviors.  We provide courses in a specific sequence to maximize movement through primitive and transitional developmental processes before fieldwork.  

                occupational adaptation.

    The second model embedded, but unseen, in the upward spiral is Occupational Adaptation.  Occupational adaptation is unseen because it is an internal process.  The only indication that an adaptive response has occurred is through a change in behavior that leads to a transitional or mature response.  A key concept in Occupational Adaptation, germane to the curriculum design, is relative mastery.  Relative mastery is the moment in time when a person knows they have used the right combination of knowledge and skills to be efficient, effective, and satisfying to self and others (Schkade & Schulz, p. 835).  Relative mastery, however, is fleeting as new challenges are constantly arising.  Therefore, the ultimate outcome of this program’s curriculum design is to create in each student a repertoire of knowledge, skills, and behaviors that allows them to respond masterfully to the demands of an entry-level practitioner.

    Curriculum Design:  Locally grown.  World impact.

    Agriculture is the heartbeat of the lower Mississippi delta including the home of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR.  Agriculture influences every facet of Jonesboro life from economy and culture to education, healthcare, and business.  Hardworking, sun up to sun down people forge this land and take great pride in what they grow for the United States and beyond.  Jonesboro, AR produces large amounts of two staple crops that are essential to our country; cotton and rice.  Therefore, we have chosen to change our curriculum design from a river to the cotton plant.  We think the cotton plant better reflects the culture of our program, university, and geographical region. 

    The cotton plant is a plant with deep roots, a stem, leaves, flowers, and bolls.  What is interesting about the cotton plant is that its utility comes after the stems, leaves, and flowers appear lifeless.  When the stem and leaves turn brown and the flowers close, a mature boll emerges with a white fluffy mass that is used to create millions of products.  Farmers and Occupational Therapy have something in common.  Both often go unnoticed until what we have to offer is needed for people to survive and thrive.  Just as Jonesboro Farmers grow cotton to provide the world with a basic ingredient for the manufacturing of food, clothes, and other products, the Occupational Therapy department at Arkansas State University is dedicated to growing educated practitioners to provide services in a region that has a dearth of healthcare providers.  Moreover, with more practitioners in the region, we can transform the landscape from meeting basic healthcare needs to developing ideas and interventions that influence the world.

    The following is a pictorial representation of the new curriculum design:

    cotton plant



    Soil, nutrients and roots (unseen):  The soil is the professional and educational philosophy of Occupational Therapy from which everything grows.  The Theory of Occupational Adaptation and OT-PEP provides the nutrients and roots that anchor the curriculum design.

    The stem: Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Spatiotemporal Adaptation Theory is the developmental stalk providing a strong core to develop outcomes.

    The bolls:  The curricular core concepts of professional reasoning, occupation and evidence-based practice, ethics and occupational justice, leadership and advocacy, cultural awareness, health and wellness, and OTA/OTD collaboration.

    Curriculum Threads

    It is appropriate that our curriculum model is the cotton plant as we intend to convert the bolls into threads that become the fabric of our department.  Wendy Wood (1995) described the “Warp and Weft” of Occupational Therapy as follows.  The warp of the tapestry “consists of those anchoring, longitudinal thread that give rise to the tapestry's core fabric” (p. 44).  The warp represents engagement in occupation as a medium for health. The warp of our program consists of threads that represent foundation principles and unique features of the program.

    Professional reasoning and practice:  The previous curriculum streams of foundational sciences, fundamental skills, and lifespan development are incorporated into professional reasoning along with a greater emphasis on the clinical reasoning process including the guiding theory of Occupational Adaptation.  Fleming (1991), in her article, the Therapist with the Three-Track Mind, first articulated the thinking process of an occupational therapist as procedural, interactive, and conditional.  A fourth track, narrative reasoning, was added later.  The purpose of the professional reasoning thread is to develop the learner’ ability to name and frame clinical situations appropriate reasoning for the best outcome.  As the OT-PEP points out learners need all four types of reasoning in order to think adaptively, reflect, and create meaning. 

    Scholarly inquiry:  The original 5-course research sequence was reduced to 4 courses in the 2019 modified curriculum.  However, for 2021, we found it necessary to bring back the fifth course.  Our students need five-course series to produce scholarly reports appropriate for presentation or for publication in a peer-reviewed journal that support skills of clinical practice.

    Ethics and Occupational Justice: The previous Occupation curricular domain that supplied students with the understanding, application and creation of concepts, interventions, and products that reflect the unique perspective of occupation in the life of a human-being will now include a unifying thread of ethics and occupational justice.  The courses will move from an implicit to explicit lens that considers the ethical, social, economic, political, and environmental opportunities and barriers to occupational participation in a rural setting.

    According to Wood (1995), it is the weft, or the colored threads that fill in the warp as they are delicately woven in and out by hand, that gives the tapestry life.  The unique nature of the program at Arkansas State University comes to life in the curricular threads of OTA/OTD collaboration, cultural awareness, and leadership and advocacy.

    OTA/OTD Collaboration:  Arkansas State University is unique in that both OTA and OTD programs exist in the department.  Although the programs operate independently, opportunities occur for the two levels of practitioners to collaborate on assignments and other activities.  Such collaboration assists both levels of practitioners to better understand their professional roles prior to entering clinical practice.

    Health and wellness:  The state of Arkansas ranks 47th in the nation for health outcomes (United Health Foundation, 2020 https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/Overall_a/state/AR)  Other health statistics include 1st for chronic lower respiratory diseases, 3rd for heart disease, 3rd for diabetes, 3rd for kidney disease, 6th for cancer and 7th for stroke related deaths (CDC, 2017) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/states/arkansas.htm. Therefore, health and wellness must be included in the curriculum.  Courses such as Population Health and Health Care and Social Systems help students address the health and wellness needs of local, state, and regional populations. Additionally, the new course Occupation, Health and Wellness in the first Fall semester, introduces  the students very early to the essential relationship of occupation and health.  Finally, the Capstone experience provides an opportunity for students to implement programs that address health and wellness needs.

    Cultural awareness:  We chose the term cultural awareness instead of cultural competency because of our belief in relative mastery and the need for lifelong learning.  Courses such as OT History, Language and Process introduce the students to the embedded value of cultural awareness in OT practice.  Coursework includes cultural awareness as part of our profession’s ethical responsibility and emphasizes cultural awareness as part of our “commitment to promoting inclusion, participation, safety, and well-being for all recipients in various stages of life, health, and illness and to empowering all beneficiaries of service to meet their occupational needs” (AOTA, 2015, p. 1).  However, as a program, cultural awareness was not addressed in an in-depth manner.  Therefore, with the change in curriculum, the new course Culturally Competent Practice provides students the opportunity to use their level II fieldwork experience to further explore cultural, occupational deprivation, occupational justice and social determinants of health topics.

    Advocacy and Leadership:  From the beginning courses such as OT History, Language and Process to the culmination courses of Advocacy and Leadership, Development & Assessment, and Capstone advocacy and leadership is a continuous thread.  In the introductory courses, students learn that advocacy is an ongoing part of being an Occupational Therapy professional.  In more advanced courses like Advocacy and Leadership, students learn about leadership theories, generational characteristics of leadership, leadership in different settings, and the uniqueness of one’s individual leadership journey.

    Intra/Inter-professional Practice

    Inter-professional practice is a foundational shift that has occurred over the past few years and we feel it is necessary to add it as a fundamental thread to our program.
    Our students always had the opportunity to participate in inter-professional education events on campus but in the curriculum we discovered the information was scattered amongst many courses and did not provide the students with adequate understanding of both intra and inter-professional education and practice ideals.  Therefore, the new course Intra and Inter-professional Practice brings all the information together so the students receive both the breadth and depth of the information as well as consistent application opportunities

    Curriculum Outcomes

    1. Use professional reasoning to name and frame clinical situations in order to provide evidence
      and occupation-based interventions.
    2. Develop and carry out entry-level scholarship.
    3. Provide intervention that is ethically, socially, economically, politically, and environmentally
      relevant to individuals and populations in the lower Mississippi delta region and beyond.
    4. Understand the roles and responsibilities of OTA and OT practitioners to create collaborative
      partnerships in all settings.
    5. Develop prevention, health and wellness programs for local, state, and regional populations.
    6. Use cultural awareness strategies to administer appropriate interventions for all persons.
    7. Promote the vision of Occupational Therapy as a diverse, equitable and inclusive profession.
    8. Apply leadership program development and assessment knowledge and skills to develop and
      implement a capstone doctoral experience.
    9. Understand and apply the core competencies of intra and inter-professional practice.
    10. Understand how social determinants of health can contribute to both occupational
      deprivation and occupational  justice.

     



  • Curriculum Course Sequence

    Curriculum and degree requirements can be found in the most current Graduate Bulletin.

    Visit the bulletins page >>

    Course Sequence

    Fall, Year 1

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 5012, History of Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science

    2

    OTD 5023, Pathology and Disease

    3

    OTD 5043, Clinical and Technological Skills Training

    3

    OTD 5121 Theory of Occupational Adaptation

    1

    OTD 7113, Gross Anatomy

    3

    OTD 7323, Process to Practice: Scope of Occupational Therapy

    3

    Sub-total

    15

    Spring, Year 1

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 5074, Practice I: Pediatrics

    4

    OTD 5092, Research I: Research in Occupational Science

    2

    OTD 5183, Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy I

    3

    OTD 5202, Fieldwork for Pediatrics

    2

    OTD 7224, Neuroscience

    4

    Sub-total

    15

    Summer, Year 1

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 5173, Practice II:  Adolescence and Adulthood

    3

    OTD 5283, Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy II

    3

    OTD 6182, Research II: Experimental Research

    2

    OTD 7252, Health Care Delivery Systems

    2

    OTD 7353, Implementing Behavioral Strategies

    3

    Sub-total

    13

    Fall, Year 2

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 6164, Practice III: Aging Adults

    4

    OTD 6183, Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy III

    3

    OTD 6192, Level I Fieldwork: Aging Adults

    2

    OTD 6222, Research III: Descriptive and Qualitative Research

    2

    OTD 7271, Capstone Preparation

    1

    OTD 7363 Concepts of Occupational Therapy Instructional Design

    3

    Sub-total

    15

    Spring, Year 2

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 6103, Practice IV: Psychosocial

    3

    OTD 5152, Level I Fieldwork: Psychosocial

    2

    OTD 6243, Professional Practice Seminar

    3

    OTD 6283, Fundamentals of Occupational Therapy IV

    3

    OTD 7222, Research IV: Scholarship of Application

    2

    OTD 7281, Capstone Preparation

    1

    OTD 7373 Business Principles in Occupational Therapy

    3

    Sub-total

    17

    Summer, Year 2

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 625V, Level II Fieldwork

    12

    Fall, Year 3

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 720V, Level II Fieldwork

    12

    Spring, Year 3

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 7223, Practice V: Population Health

    3

    OTD 7232, Advocacy and Leadership

    2

    OTD 7242, Development & Assessment

    2

    OTD 726V, Capstone

    4

    Sub-total

    11

    Summer, Year 3

    Sem. Hrs.

    OTD 726V, Capstone

    10

    Sub-total

    10

    Total Required Hours: 

    120

  • Career Outlook

    Occupational therapy is one of the most in demand professions in the United States. Arkansas projects a 20% increase in an already high need within the next ten years. The number of programs in the field has, like many health professions, expanded to accommodate the increased number of individuals who experience significant challenge in regards to achieving life balance that supports health, wellness and quality of life. Doctorate-level graduates are educated to competently meet the needs of current practice settings, and to skillfully move into emerging practice areas. Current practice settings and emerging practice areas include but not limited to:

    • Psychosocial treatments for individuals experiencing:
      • Mild to moderate cognitive loss.
      • Behaviors harmful to the individual’s health, development and overall quality of life.
      • Family-based needs.
      • Transitional support following divorce, death of a loved one, change in health status, change in locations.
      • Mental health symptoms.
      • Moderate to severe cognitive change due to progressive neurological conditions.
    • Functional cognition.
    • Aging in place.
    • Home and environmental adaptations.
    • Work and job placement with accommodations reflective of need.
    • Coaching to support socialization for individuals maturing into adolescence and young adulthood with disabilities.
    • Preventive health for adults with chronic diseases who live in rural locations.
    • Coaching for career transitions.
    • Traditional pediatric, adult, aging adult occupational therapy services.
    • Community mobility including driving evaluations.
    • Low vision services.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    When is application due date? February 1st

    When will I be notified of status? March 31

    What if I miss the application deadline? We do not accept applications after February 1.

    What is reviewed in the admission packet?

    • Earned Bachelor’s Degree
    • Pre-requisite coursework
    • Prerequisite and Cumulative GPA
    • Additional preparation in advanced coursework
    • Three pre-professional evaluations
    • English proficiency (if foreign born)
    • Volunteer and leadership service  

    Do you require observation hours?  No

    Do you require the GRE? No

    Can I go part-time? No

    Can I work while I attending the program?

    The program is full time and very demanding. Due to the rigor of the education, we strongly advise you not to work. In addition to in class lectures, some of the assignments are completed in the community, some with peers, and some with other students from different degree programs. Employment while enrolled in the program may lead to poor academic performance and could result in failure and eventual dismissal from the program.

    What fieldwork expenses should I plan for?

    You are responsible for all fieldwork expenses including but not limited to your own transportation, lodging, food, and general living expenses. You will have 4 - Level I Fieldwork placements (40 hours each), 2 - Level II Fieldwork placements (12 weeks each) and one Capstone (14 weeks).  Any and all fieldwork placements may take place outside of the Jonesboro area.  

    How is an entry-level doctorate program different from a masters-level program?

    Both the occupational therapy doctorate program and the master level occupational therapy program are points of entry into the profession of occupational therapy. Both forms of education are accredited by ACOTE. Both degree levels prepare entry-level occupational therapy generalists. The doctoral degree graduates professionals with above-generalist level knowledge and advanced skills that support their work in emerging practice areas as well as current practice settings.

    What major should I pick as an undergraduate student preparing for a degree in occupational therapy?

    There is no specific undergraduate degree required.  However, all pre-requisite courses must be completed regardless of undergraduate degree.  Undergraduate degrees closely related to Occupational Therapy include: Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work.  In the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Arkansas State University, the Health Studies degree is also a popular choice for students planning to apply to the Occupational Therapy program.  No admission preference is given to students with these specific degrees.

    How do I know if my prerequisites from another University will count? 

    If you have a question about any of your prerequisites, contact the program director, Dr. Christine Wright at cwright@astate.edu.  Have your course descriptions and course syllabi available for review.

     

     

  • Essential Functions of OTD Students and Other Additional Information

    Essential Functions of Occupational Therapy Doctoral Students at AState

    Upon admission, a student who discloses a properly certified disability will receive reasonable accommodations but must also be able to perform the essential functions of the curriculum and meet the standards for the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program.  Students seeking accommodations must contact Access & Accommodation Services (Access and Accommodation Services). 

    Technical standards for the AState OTD students are as follows:

    Motor Skills

    Candidates for admission to the AState Department of Occupational Therapy must have sufficient motor function to elicit information from clients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other evaluation procedures.  Candidates must be able to execute motor movements reasonably required to provide general occupational therapy, including the physical strength to stand and ambulate with a walker, cane or crutches.  Candidates must have the physical strength to lift and transfer clients.

    Therapeutic Occupational Therapy procedures require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the sense of touch and vision.  For this reason, candidates for admission to the AState Department of Occupational Therapy must have manual dexterity and the ability to engage in procedures involving grasping, fingering, pushing, pulling, extending and rotation.

    Sensory/Observational Skills

    Candidates for admission to the AState Department of Occupational Therapy must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in laboratory experiments as required in the curriculum.  Candidates must be able to observe clients and be able to obtain an appropriate medical history directly from client or guardian.  Such observation necessitates the functional use of vision, hearing, and other sensory modalities.  Candidates must have visual perception that includes depth and acuity.

    Communication Skills

    Candidates for admission to the AState Department of Occupational Therapy must be able to communicate in English effectively and sensitively with clients.  In addition, candidates must be able to communicate in English in oral and written form with faculty, other health personnel, and peers in the classroom, laboratory and fieldwork settings.  Such communication skills include, but are not limited to, speech, reading and writing in English.  Candidates must have the ability to complete reading assignments, search and evaluate literature.  Candidates must be able to complete written assignments and maintain written records.  Candidates must have the ability to complete assessment exercises.  Candidates must also have the ability to use therapeutic communication, such as attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and touching.  All of these skills will be needed in the classroom, laboratory, and fieldwork environments.

    Intellectual/Conceptual, Integrative and Qualitative Skills

    Candidates for admission to the AState Department of Occupational Therapy must have the ability to measure, calculate, reason, problem-solve, diagnose, and obtain, interpret, synthesize and document data.  These skills allow students to carry out proper assessments, make sound judgments; prioritize therapeutic interventions, and measure and record client care outcomes.  Candidates must have the ability to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information.  In addition, candidates must be able to comprehend three-dimensional relationships and understand spatial relationships of anatomic structures.

    Behavioral/Social Skills and Professionalism:

    Candidates for admission to the AState Department of Occupational Therapy must demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others interpersonal skills, interest and motivation.  Candidates must possess the emotional well-being required for use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities required for the evaluation and care of clients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with clients.  Candidates must be able to adapt to ever-changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainty and stress which are inherent in the educational process and clinical rotations. 

    Candidates must have the ability to be assertive, delegate responsibilities, and function as part of an Occupational Therapy team.  Such abilities require organizational skills necessary to meet deadlines and manage time. 

    (Developed from: Technical Standards/Essential Functions. AOTA Education Sections. AASIG, September 1998.  University of Tennessee Health Science Center https://www.uthsc.edu/allied/ot/tech_standards.php).

    Organizational Memberships

    Students in the OTD program are required to be members of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Arkansas Occupational Therapy Association. 

    Health Insurance

    The University offers each student the opportunity to purchase an accident and hospitalization insurance policy as part of a group consisting of A-State students and students enrolled in other universities across the state. Membership in the group is voluntary. Application forms are available through the website located at http://www.astate.edu/a/student-health-center/index.dot.  Health insurance is required during fieldwork educational experiences. 

    Physical Exam and Immunizations

    Fieldwork education agreements may require specific immunizations and an annual physical examination.  Costs for these procedures vary and are available through the A-State Student Health Center.  Price information is available at http://www.astate.edu/a/student-health-center/index.dot.  TB mask fitting .  Immunizations may also be obtained through the Craighead County Health Department.  TB mask fitting may also be a requirement before fieldwork.  The current cost is $20 but is always subject to change.

    Fieldwork Education

    You are responsible for living expenses, transportation, and tuition while on all fieldwork education experiences.  The fee for the fieldwork education assessment tool is approximately $50.00.  Additional information will be provided by the Academic Fieldwork Coordinator.

    Other Expenses

    The link for additional expenses is on the OT department' main webpage after the graduation rates.  Although the program does everything possible to keep the list up to date, fees and expenses are always subject to change.


Accredited by ACOTE
ACOTE Logo
Visit the ACOTE website >>